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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Dark Cloud
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Dark Cloud 💀Vibin' beyond the Veil💀

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Wordage: 211 words (+1 points)
Experience: 6/20 EXP (LVL UP PENDING)
Location: Detroit
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Raiden's @XoXKieroBombXoX


"Hm, it looks unlikely the fight is going in our favor." the Turk remarked in a hushed tone as he peered out from behind the cybernetically enhanced soldier. Benedict had followed Raiden, without openly declaring to the rest of the Seekers after the team proceeded to engage their plan of action and while the old inspector wasn't particularly light-footed he had up until this point been silent "The enemy may be turning on each other but our allies may also be caught unawares in the chaos if the..." casting his gaze over Raiden as he went to work on defusing the explosives, it was a passing thought but the Turk wondered if it would actually be to their benefit if they simply allowed the explosives to detonate "Hm, nevermind." Benedict brushed the thought aside, now wasn't the time to change plans.

Besides it was hardly ideal to have the Seekers crushed by rubble and blown to the heavens if he was to gain their confidence "I'd advise you hurry," the Turk said with mild urgency in his monotonous voice "Else we will be in no better a position than the others."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by TruthHurts22
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TruthHurts22

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Level 2 (XP: 14/20)
Ace (@Yankee), Frisk (@Majoras End), Prisoner (@XoXKieroBombXoX)
Edinburgh MagicaPolis


As the group got themselves seated in the bakery, treats ordered and delivered surprisingly quick, Wicke got started on her spiel. Wonder Red, for his part, remained skeptical of the Aether Foundation even as the representative right in front of them had an entire passionate monologue about their mission statements and contributions to the city. He didn't expect a straight answer out of her on the issue - why would a company worker divulge the dirty details of said company to a pack of strangers? While Red wasn't a detective of Big Band's caliber, or really, at all, he did have experience with people. It was mostly with elementary schoolers, to be fair, but it let him pick up on Wicke's genuine enthusiasm all the same.

Whether she was covering for her superiors or not, it was clear the Aether Foundation had employees devoted to their cause.

Wonder Red went to eat some of his own chocolate treats only to find them squishy, half-melted as if by some radiant force of happiness. He balked at his sticky fingers and tried to wipe them clean on the hem of his jacket when nobody was watching.

"I must say, you do your company justice, Wicke," Red said, picking up a fork. "Are you sure you're not in charge of advertising and PR?" From anyone else that might've sounded like a dig, but Red sincerely meant it here. She'd do a great job as the company's face, if she wasn't already. Red continued, a little more on topic, "other than the All Around Spheal Spheal team, I've witnessed Pokémon before. They're certainly impressive creatures. If the Aether Foundation is housing ones they've rescued, are they available for adoption?" Red didn't quite say 'so we can use them in our upcoming fights', but he was pretty darn close to it.

It would have to be a question answered on their own time, as Wicke was in a hurry to leave the café and get back to work. Almost as soon as she left the discussion turned to what they should be doing now, which itself was quickly turned to Frisk and her information regarding 'L'. Hearing that even here they hadn't escaped the watching eyes of whoever the Consuls were put a damper on the mood, though Red remained hopeful. "This could be a good time to gather more information on these Consuls," he posited. "Where we can, that is. If L is in charge of the whole city there are bound to be public records of her exploits and perhaps even a way to trace her back to the Consul." Maybe a touch too hopeful. Optimism was important.

A hideout was needed, and luckily their new friends also had access to that too. The place was stunning, a massively impressive library of impressively massive size, though for Wonder Red, whose home world was larger than life already, it was an easier pill for him to swallow. "This library is very expansive! We should make note of this for later, it might be a valuable resource of information." The obvious statement out of the way, Red and the other got acquainted with the magic bookmarks that helped tell them where to find things. They might not have needed one each, but it helped to have options.

Big Band led the way to the library's stairs, a task much more daunting than anything they faced thus far. Red stepped forward, saying, "it'd be best for everyone to conserve their energy in case we're attacked, so I can help with this." He raised his fist up, and shouted...

"UNIIIIIIIITE--!"


A chorus of otherworldly 'shhhhhhhhhhhhh's echoed across the marble-floored library, cutting of Wonder Red's exclamation. Several wax-headed caretakers looked in their direction, dangers raised ominously. Red clear his throat and gave them all a nervous nod of understanding. "Yes, right. Quiet." He raised his fist again, and instead whispered...

"uniiiiiiiite hand."


In barely a blink of an eye Red's 5 companions were pulled together, hard-light encasing their bodies to form Red's signature gauntlet. And, in maybe his most mundane use of it yet, Wonder Red simply... took the stairs. The others safely morphed into his weapon, it was all on him to exert the energy in order to tackle the endless flight to the higher floors, stepping quick and assuredly one after the other, Unite Morph raised up. "Floor 26, here we come."

And Floor 26 they did go. While an unusual, perhaps even comical sight, Red's little idea was effective in getting the group up and up and up the many floors in record time. His pace might've slowed a few times, and his arm may have drooped on occasion, but sure enough Wonder Red took the final step onto the 26th floor. He dematerialized the Morph, allowing the others to touch the ground again, and doubled over, clutching his shaking knees and trying to catch his breath.

"Hoooh, haaaah, d-destination reached, team." He gave his arm a few turns, rolling his shoulder. "And with... with minimal damage done."
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

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Midgar: Suoh - Anistar Gym, Part 1

Peach, Goldlewis' @Lugubrious, Raz’s @Truthhurts22, Roxas’ @Double,
Sakura and Karin’s @Zoey Boey, Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Pit's @Yankee
Word Count: 1574 (+3)

”Hello, Peach-san!” Sakura said. ”Yeah, they were pretty tricky, but we worked together. Us and the guards. Teamwork and all that good stuff.” She said with a satisfied nod.

Karin also couldn’t help but pay attention to Goldlewis’ vital information about name pronunciation. ”I see. We’ll keep that in mind, I suppose?”

Midna took a peek at the spirits, but, frankly, she had perhaps been too comfortable with fusion, and so she thought it wiser to hang back and let someone who wasn’t well into chimera town use this one. She would, if there were no offers, but she expected there might be ”Going to be a touch awkward if you’ve been talking to Psych-OSF personnel already” she noted ”… but seeing as you and these are human, maybe you can get away with a change of clothes and a haircut to make it less obvious?”

Peach gave a nod but remained quiet. There were a number of ways the team could spin this to make the operation work, but they needed to be smart about it.

When the topic of adopting one of the spirits came up, Sakura addressed the situation seriously, looking down at the little representation of the psychic people. ”...Well.” She said with a contemplative sigh. ”I guess…I guess I volunteer. I’ve done it before with a ship girl named Araisho, and I don’t think any of the psychic people are familiar with me. The mission is worth it, right? It sounds like a smart plan to me.” She said.

Karin said nothing, just crossing her arms and looking at Sakura contemplatively. While Sakura talked about such a serious topic, she went ahead and did the brunette the favor of deftly plucking the silly little doll from the top of her head and pocketing it, the other girl none-the-wiser.

”I wonder if there’s a way we can get more.” Midna mused ”Ethically I mean” there was an obvious way, but she was not going to entertain it ”are there any … psychic monsters or something maybe? Or … ” Midna paused as she had an idea that she did not like.

”I have these psychic cultist strikers that you might have seen me use” she began to suggest, only to find out that Peach’s power did not work on them, which led her to an idea she liked even less.

”I got them from a place called the ‘Convent of Our Lady of the Charred Visage’ and I do have a portal that exits out there … but that place is horrid, and incredibly dangerous too, and those three where exceptions rather than the rule, so it would be like finding needles in a haystack that is trying to kill you so … I’m going to put that on the table, but I do not recommend it unless we are desperate for options.”

The notion prompted Goldlewis to stroke his whiskers with a furrowed brow. “I ain’t exactly what ya’d call an expert on spirits, but considerin’ what they do to your head it’d be better to find spirits that ain’t got a couple screws loose, right?” which Midna definitely had to agree with … despite also not at all following that soft rule at all.

"Plus it still feels pretty scummy, going after someone just to get their powers," Pit added, his expression halfway between a frown and a look of consideration. It was true that he'd seen a lot of villains do just that, and in the most recent case with Hades he'd been using souls for that purpose, feeding on them to gain power. It was similar enough to their current situation that it discomforted Pit, even if the spirits Midna proposed to take were those of bad guys.

"But, uh, it'll be for the greater good right? Besides, spirits aren't really the same as souls, they're just..." Pit's brows pinched together and he snapped his fingers a few times, trying to conjure the explanation he was looking for. "They're like... ugh, I dunno! They're definitely different from a person's soul, but I can't really explain it. Trust me though, it's angelic intuition or something! If..."

He bit down on his next words, but even if he didn't say them it was pretty easy to see he was pining for the Goddess of Light once more. He was sure she would be able to offer some insight into things, including the morality of their discussion. He'd find her eventually. For now, he had to think things through himself - however difficult it might be.

"And for monsters... I guess there's no psychic-type Pokémon here in the gym." At least judging from Bede's outburst as he'd left the establishment. "Heheh, I'd prefer flying-type anyway! Guess we'll have to look somewhere else. Since we can see the Others without being psychic, we don't have to rush to all become psychic right? We'll just keep an eye out for whatever we can find."

”Speaking of portals,” she added ”If we think of a good, I dunno, base of operations, or even just a good spot in the city we’d want to go back and forth from, I could set one up there, and then do a bunch of warping and train riding to get back to smash city, and set one up there. That way we can get access to home base’s resources, maybe even find some mercenaries who’d fit Psych-OSF’s requirement to fill out your group?”

Goldlewis took another furtive look around. Right now, the team stood clustered on the side of the gym’s door opposite the reception desk. He could see a couple security cameras, but none so close that they should be able to pick up on a conversation in low tones. “That’s a bright idea, miss. The less time it takes to mosey around, the more options we got. Course, I gotta wonder where we’re gonna find a good spot, away from pryin’ eyes.” He looked around the gym for a brief moment, knowing that he’d find no such hideaways in here. “Hmm. If y’all wanna stick ‘round here for a spell, I reckon I’ll take a walk and see if I can scare up any info on a place we can bunk up where the state ain’t stickin’ its big nose. I don’t take kindly to the idea of y’all fusin’ with Others, but there might be other psychic critters ‘round these parts we can use.” He shrugged. “I ain’t one much for gyms, anyhow.”

Raz looked from Goldlewis to Peach and the rest. ”Hmmmm. See, on one hand I think I should go with Mr. Goldlewis - this place isn’t very friendly to non-psychics so you might have trouble navigating on your own. And I’m sure actually having a psychic at your side would help somewhere else. But at the same time I should probably stay here and coordinate with everyone on the Psych-OSF business… dunno which is the right option.”

Sakura was trying not to tap her foot and trying not to get distracted by the gym. ”You can think about that, Raz-kun.” She said, a bead of sweat trickling down the side of her head. ”I’m going to do…uh…r-reconnaissance.” She turned on her heel and sped off into the gym.

"What's up with her?"

”Nothing. I imagine she is just excited by the pretty colors in the gym.” Karin responded to Pit flatly, having lingered near the conversation. Pit took her words at face value and snickered.

Karin turned her attention back to the serious discussion. ”This Psych-OSF plan,” She began, ”If we get caught, there will be repercussions, yes? Political and otherwise. I prefer to do negotiations and diplomacy, and if I’m doing any deception there must be some plausible deniability. Otherwise I’d volunteer myself.”

Peach considered Karin’s point of view. “That’s a good point. I’m not sure what they could charge us with considering we have every intent to stop the Ever Crisis if we can. But it’d be a good idea to have a fallback.” She crossed her arms. “Instead of charging straight to that Otherlobe place to get initiated before dinner, let’s see what else we can set up or find out beforehand.” The princess looked around the room for uniforms of red and black. “I bet there’s some soldiers around here who could give a few tips for aspiring cadets.”

”Well you come get me if you need my take on anything,” Raz said as he made for the gym himself. ”I’m a little interested in the ‘pretty colors’ too.”

"Well while you guys do that, I'm gonna go back and get those Other spirits just in case that data Midna talked about ends up coming in useful!" Pit chimed, "Besides, if this is a psychic gym I'm not gonna be able to see anything cool anyway! And if it's a normal gym I don't need it, I get plenty of cardio just running around!"

As Goldlewis made for the door, he was beat there by the angel. Pit held the door before flitting up and away with plans to meet the rest of the Seekers again later.

Then, once Goldlewis was out said door, a certain princess who had surreptitiously taken a ride on his coattails let her presence be known, whispering ”If you need someone to shadow you, I’m your woman. Just lead the way and I’ll be right behind you” from her hiding spot.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey too good!

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Midgar: Suoh - Anistar Gym, Part 2

Gemma @Lugubrious, Raz@Truthhurts22,
Sakura @Zoey Boey
Word Count: 6374 (+7)


Once in the middle of the gym, Sakura squeed and then covered her mouth. It was one of the coolest places she had ever seen in her entire life. She had no idea what Bede’s problem was. There was sparring going on all over between people with all sorts of amazing powers. Most of it she could make sense of, and it was all awesome. Animatronic training dummies, psychic exercise equipment, shooting galleries. The spoons, though, she lingered by and was very confused. She picked one of the larger ones up and held it, studying it for a moment, the reflection of her face distorted by the concave part of the spoon.

”...Weird!” She said. ”What the heck is this spoon for?” She wondered aloud, glancing to see what people might be doing with them.

Snatching up a dumbbell on a borderline subconscious level, she lifted it as she jogged around, craning her neck. She was thirty feet up on a climbing wall, somehow doing it while lifting, when she turned and watched an amazing 1v3 spar go down. Like a moth to a flame she dropped from the significant height and landed lightly, racking the dumbbell and sprinting over to ‘ringside.’

During one of their breaks, she let out her excitement with a loud ‘wow.’ ”You’re really strong!” Sakura said to the man fending off three attackers at once. Her fists were clenched by her chin and her eyes were practically sparkling.

The soldiers’ practice bout, already winding down after a furious but brief exchange between the gathered combatants, came to an end when Sakura approached. The tall man relaxed his stance and straightened up, a polite smile on his face despite the weariness of many years in his eyes. “Well, thanks. When my friend’s lives are on the line, I can’t afford to slack off training a single day. Still, I could be a lot better, and I don't have long to get there.” Behind him, the well-built brothers with their matching blonde poofs of hair gladly took the chance for a break, their chests heaving as they went for some water. The lady, meanwhile, looked even more worn out, and she couldn’t help but roll her eyes at Sakura’s literal wide-eyed enthusiasm as she turned away.

For a brief moment the last soldier’s gaze rested on Sakura. Then he spoke again in that same deep, measured tone. “I guess I’m what you’d call a regular here, but I don’t think I’ve seen you before. Welcome to Anistar Gym, miss.” He extended his hand to shake. “My name’s Gemma. Gemma Garrison. As you probably guessed, I’m with Psych-OSF. Vodelo Platoon.” He glanced back over his shoulders at the others. “My gym buddies here are Chris, Pat, and Anya. If I’m strong, it’s because people like them were kind enough to help me get there.”

“Especially considering I’m a sharpshooter, not a brawler,” Anya muttered. She sat down in front of a nearby fan to rest, her black hair flapping in the breeze.

Sakura went into a bow, but corrected at the last second and went for a handshake instead, her fighting gloved hand clasping with his. Grinning, she made sure to give him a nice firm handshake! For a moment she considered if this might interfere with her plan to go incognito at Psych-OSF, but, the thought passed quickly. ”Pleased to meet you, everyone! My name’s Sakura.” She bowed to everyone, quickly, like a spring. This Gemma guy spoke her language. It was only through training with others that people could get stronger! Especially rivals. (Though Sakura always enjoyed an easy win.)

”Your metal skin technique is so cool! Would you wanna fight with me?” Sakura asked earnestly. Street fighters were just that- she played it loose with the rules and Sakura’s idea of ‘sparring’ was closer to what most people think of as ‘fighting.’

Gemma put one hand on his hip, a little surprised by the out-of-the-blue offer even if his face barely changed. “Oh, you like my sclerokinesis? It’s really nothing special, but if you’re down for a friendly spar, I see no reason to refuse.” Over to the side, the twins seemed taken aback. They put their water bottles down in a hurry and headed over to spread out around an area in the corner, loosely outlining the prospective area the two fighters had to work with. Other nearby gym patrons followed suit, interested in seeing the newcomer who’d arrived and challenged Gemma Garrison right off the bat.

The man himself, however, barely noticed. If anything, he seemed a little annoyed. To him this exchange simply wasn’t a big deal. Perhaps the small crowd gathered just to see what he and Sakura could do, but if they wanted some big spectacle they’d leave disappointed. This was just your everyday sparring session. There were no stakes, and there would be neither winner nor loser; if anything, Gemma hoped that both would come away a little better for having tested their skills. Ignoring the onlookers, he took up a spot in the center of the area. Having noticed Sakura attempt a bow earlier, he extended her the same courtesy, then raised his fists. With padded training gloves on, the chances of anyone getting hurt were low. “Whenever you’re ready.”

Sakura eagerly returned the bow. ”Yeah! Let’s go!” With a snappy movement she settled into her bouncy fighting position. ”Don’t hold back!” She said. To get things started, and to tell him of her own special abilities, she gathered some ki between her hands and unleashed it towards Gemma.

”Hadoken!” If it happened to miss, it was a short range fireball, so it wouldn’t travel outside the ring, instead dissipating into a pleasantly warm flicker before disappearing completely. Sakura did it without thinking. She was used to fighting with an audience.

Her fireball was bright and flashy, but it moved in a linear fashion. Gemma sidestepped it without ceremony, his calm gaze moving subtly constantly between his opponent’s face and limbs to get build up familiarity with her patterns of motion. Rather than move toward her to attack, he held his ground.

Sakura wasn’t in a hurry yet- she was happy to control space. The threat of fireballs could make an opponent make a hasty move. This time, she aimed her fireball at the ground. ”Dodge this!” It exploded in a small area of effect, wider than a sidestep. It would collide with his knees on hit and shove him back even on block. She did this a couple more times, varying her timing, before she spent a moment to charge up a bigger fireball. Now she was gonna unleash this bad boy and follow after it to begin her offensive pressure.

Her adversary, however, had his wits about him. When he saw her aim in a way that obviously wouldn’t hit him, he predicted an explosion of some kind, and moved farther than normal to avoid the blasts. The first time he still got clipped, which for a brief moment affected his poise, but after that he moved clear each time, advancing just a little each time. Once Sakura realized this wasn’t working and changed tactics again, Gemma noticed her increased charge, then readied himself when it blazed his way.

He lunged forward, activating his Sclerokinesis. A dark, gunmetal-gray coating covered his body, its metallic sheen extending even to his head., creating a four-eyed, mask-like barrier. With complete armor he blew straight through the enhanced fireball, not even taking chip damage, to knock Sakura back with a back-turned shoulder slam, evocative of bajiquan.

Seeing her big fireball get burst aside like that made her heart skip a beat. ”Oof!” Sakura stumbled backward, squinting one eye shut. That was a familiar feeling! She let herself fall to roll to her feet.

Although his gamble had paid off, Gemma wasn’t about to let the thrill of victory overtake him. With his ability already disabled again, he returned to his defensive stance a respectful distance from Sakura to let her get up. That she hadn’t gotten the wind knocked out of her from an impact like that, even restrained to sparring levels, told him that she was no ordinary fighter.

Sakura began strafing at the same distance, watching Gemma. ”I guess you can’t do that metal thing forever, huh?” She said hopefully. Though her physical punches were typically stronger than her fireballs, she was hesitant to start punching steel attached to a strong fighter.

“Not forever,” Gemma conceded, never taking his eyes off the girl. “But I try to make the most of it.” He kept himself ready, patiently waiting for another opening.

Sakura rubbed her nose. ”Cool! I can kinda do something like that.” She said, thinking about her Focus Attack. Noting how defensive he was playing, she slapped the sides of her head. ”Okay, here I come!” She ran forward, closing the gap. She stopped dead in her tracks and shot out her leg in a light kick towards his shin. It had a deceptively far range. Then she moved in to jam her elbow into his chest, a move that really let her put the pressure on even if blocked. Gemma was roughly a foot taller than Sakura, but if she let that get in her way she’d never have gotten anywhere.

When Sakura went on the offensive, Gemma stood firm. Her kick went faster and farther than he might have expected, so rather than attempt to retreat he blocked it as best he could. His opponent followed up to lay on the pressure, but Gemma had no intention of letting her run her game plan. Sclerokinesis flared up again, and he armored through her attacks to check her with a swift blow to the solar plexus. Before dispelling his power again, he followed up with a hook to chase Sakura away.

Sakura got lower when she felt Sclerokinesis activate again, and she attempted to return fire with her own Focus Attack. The strike against her solar plexus seemed to get absorbed by the black streaks of ink that formed around her. ”Hooah!” She went upwards for a knee up into his ribs. If that didn’t work she’d be hovering in the air for a moment, slightly above Gemma’s eye level, her Focus Attack over and the ink gone.

Though his mask didn’t communicate it, Gemma found himself pretty surprised when Sakura managed to completely soak a couple strikes of her own. She then retaliated explosively wreathed in stylish furls of ink, but to her chagrin Gemma’s power nullified it all. The maneuver left her overextended, and her opponent retaliated with a simple grab to snatch her out of the air and chuck her away. ”Bwah!” He went for distance rather than impact, sending her rolling along the foam mats as far as he could within the confines of this makeshift arena. Well before she drew close to the feet of the onlookers, he’d shut off Sclerokinesis once more.

When Sakura sat up, the twin tails of her bandana fluttered annoyingly in her face before she dismissed them both with a frenzied wave. With a frustrated sigh she was up on her feet again. ”You really like that one.” Sakura said. At this point, she just wanted to get him to activate it without hitting her. She advanced again, arms up, shuffling unpredictably in and out of combat range. She began to work her way in with quick kicks and jabs. She feinted a couple of medium punches and kicks. If she could get close enough, she could try to snatch his wrist and hook her ankle behind his leg and throw him clean off his feet. That move of his didn’t seem to enhance his strength or weight.

Gemma tightened up his guard as Sakura really began to move. Had she already grasped the shortcoming of his power? Well, she’d still have to execute on it. He faced off with her barrage of speedy, noncommittal moves, using only his normal block and his range advantage to give and take a handful of insignificant blows. At last she wound up for a stronger strike, and Gemma instinctively braced for a counterattack with Sclerokinesis, but nothing came. In a flash the metallic sheen disappeared again, revealing eyes that said I know what you’re up to. He backpedaled slowly, trying to keep her at range where he had the advantage, then suddenly switched things up. If she’d already gotten used to his reactionary style, she might not expect a lunging one-two-three. Gemma made sure to commit hard on that final uppercut–then activate Sclerokinesis unprovoked to flummox this bantam’s revenge.

Sakura had him backpedaling and was looking to capitalize with an attack to his legs, but she was ready for the surge forward. His type always did that. She raised her front hand and used it to guide the three hit combo away from her even as she slid backwards, her guard sparking with blue energy. The big uppercut came in and Sakura braced against it. For a moment his uppercut hung in the air, and his metal power activated once more. Sakura didn’t bite. She was, after all, looking for the throw in the first place. ”Oops!” She grabbed his shoulder and cross him across her thigh, flipping him heels over head onto the ground.

”Phew! Gotcha that time.” Sakura said, dusting her hands. That felt good! Normally she would be all over him while he tried to get up, but it didn’t seem like he was looking for that kind of fight. So she let him get up, too. She did a quick glance around to see if any of her friends were watching the fight.

Gemma rose, dispelling Sclerokinesis as he did. While his power negated damage from the fall, the fact that he got grabbed in the first place impressed him enough. The average fighter would have either panicked or jumped at her first chance for a punish when faced with a bulwark onslaught, but Sakura did not. He clearly wasn’t the only one taking the time to think things through. Facing Sakura once more, he gave her a short but respectful nod, acknowledging that he’d gotten too frisky and she’d gotten the better of him. At the same time, he didn’t plan to let it happen again, if he could help it. Gemma raised his arms and began to advance in defensive posture, one half-step at a time. This time his hands were open.

Sakura shuffled on her sneakers, advancing forward a step before strafing back and to the side, galloping around the mat. Feeling cheeky, she ended up just striding forward and looked to throw him again, going to grab his shoulder and twist him off his feet.

Content to let her Sakura spend her energy, though he guessed she could probably go a lot harder a lot longer than this, Gemma watched and waited. After a few moments his opponent came right for him and reached out to grab his torso. Gemma reached back, trying to catch the offending forearm before it reached him in the grip of the opposite hand. Then Sclerokinesis would activate, turning his grasp into an ironclad death grip, and the soldier stepped forward–onto Sakura’s foot, to stop her from getting away, should she manage to break his grip anyway. The next moment his shoulder collided with her body, and both went to the ground. Rather than immediately let his sparring partner go after the grapple, Gemma just stayed there, pinning her down while -unbeknownst to her- the last third of his Sclerokinesis ticked away.

Sakura avoided his counter grab easily enough, but she yelped out as her foot was stepped on. ”Owie!” Then she grunted as she was tackled to the ground. It took her a moment to suck in a quick breath, and she realized he wasn’t going to let her get up this time! Even though she just let him get up!

”Okay, fine!” She said, annoyed. Wrestling wasn’t exactly her specialty, but she knew how to escape. She planted her feet on the ground and balled her fists together, sticking them against his midsection and pushing away. She pushed and quickly wiggled to get out from under him.

Gemma would have thought a pin like this would be the clincher against a markedly smaller, lighter opponent, but this girl somehow possessed enough strength that her ‘plan’ of just pushing him off might actually work. Intriguing. Without a grasp on her arm, he couldn’t go for a hold, and seeing as he didn’t actually want to pummel her while she was down or try to choke her out, Gemma changed tactics. Before Sakura could slip away he rolled off her, disengaging Sclerokinesis.

He stood to a fresh round of murmurs from the onlookers, who wondered why Gemma’s takedown had failed. Of course, they hadn’t experienced Sakura’s uncanny strength for themselves, and once up the soldier dropped his guard. “That’s probably good enough,” he announced, even though that led to some disappointment among the watchers at how inconclusive the sparring match had been. “I have to hand it to you, you’re pretty capable. I’ve definitely got what most would say is an unfair advantage, but you’re strong enough to make do. Without getting a little too serious for a friendly spar, we’re probably at a stalemate. Not much we can do.”

This is why Sakura was a Street Fighter and not a Safe Fighter. She felt annoyed and confused about the etiquette of ‘getting too serious.’ The disappointment of the crowd was ten fold in her heart. She clenched her fists and widened her stance, animated. ”Then maybe we should get serious! Come on, tap out or knock out, let’s fight for real! I’ve been holding back too, y’know!” She insisted.

Gemma ran a hand through his hair, not so sure about this. Sparring was risky business in general; the tendency for things to escalate wildly after only a blow or two was well-documented. It was why he took pains with Sclerokinesis to make sure he himself took no damage during practice fights, as well as sparring in a manner that would ensure he didn’t run out. No doubt that’s what the growing crowd, now whispering about the possibility of a real match, wanted to see. Gemma didn’t care what they thought, but he did want to give a good account of himself, and it seemed that Sakura did as well.

It was now that Raz wandered his way inside the gym, attracted to where everyone else’s attention seemed to be: a sparring match between Sakura and, it looked like, another Psych-OSF member. ”Geez, those guys are everywhere,” he muttered.

After a couple moments, Gemma cracked his neck to one side, then the other. “If that’s what you really want,” he replied. He couldn’t deny that he wanted to see more from this surprising girl as well, even if he didn’t enjoy the act of fighting. “If you’ll give me about thirty seconds to get ready, I’ll fight with you.” He removed his padded mitts, designed for the purpose of all but negating damage, and donned his battle gloves, simple as they were. “I won’t use SAS, though.”

Sakura stood up straight again, giving him his thirty seconds and setting her hands on her hips. Now the smile had returned. ”I don’t know what SAS is, but don’t hold back. I mean it.” Sakura said. ”I’m ready when you are.” She said, doing a few stretches while she waited.

Her declaration sent a fresh ripple of murmurs through the spectators, who by now had formed into a decent crowd. They took the form of a big circle giving the fighters a wide berth, trading excited -and worried- whispers.

“No way, Gemma’s actually going to fight someone?”

“You mean he’s not just sitting there and countering for a change?”

“She didn’t just say he could use SAS, did she? Ohh, boy.”

“Wait, who’s in his platoon, again?”

“Who is this girl? She’s got guts!”

“Oh man, this is going to be a slaughter.”

“Hey, someone go and get some jelly. Just…you know, in case.”

“This can’t be allowed, right?”

”Kick his butt, Sakura!”

Sakura grinned at the crowd, ready to put on a show. She waved at Raz.

Gemma ignored them. “It’s a little noisy here,” he said to Sakura, his face mildly apologetic. He then took a deep breath, in through his nose and out through his mouth. When his eyes opened, something happened, although Sakura couldn’t quite see what. Behind him, imaginary cables the width of soda cans appeared from the ether, their near ends rounded with sharp prongs on the ends. Their other ends extended out into nothing, seemingly fading out mid-air. After a brief moment they stabbed -or perhaps plugged- into Gemma’s back with enough force to jerk his torso from side to side, like he’d been shot. That motion was all non-psychics could see, however. The soldier inhaled deeply one more time just as his sclerokinesis refilled to max. “I’ll make this quick.”

The Street Fighter wasn’t intimidated. She was happy to get a sense of someone’s awesome power, even though she felt like she was missing out due to not being a psychic. Sakura bowed one more time. ”Pleased to meet you! For real, this time!”

“Ready?” the twins from earlier called in sync. “...Go!”

Gemma hardened his arm, and dropped to one knee to strike the ground beneath him. “Hrrah!” Beneath him the whole floor shook slightly, and a shockwave of force rolled out in Sakura’s direction. Gemma sprang forward from his trackstarter stance, charging toward her with massive strides.

Sakura felt the shockwave coming and met it with a fireball of her own. It exploded, clashing with the shockwave and dispersing both. Sakura dashed forward, but before she met Gemma’s charge, she ducked to the side and shot out a crouching kick towards Gemma’s calf, looking to trip him up. And of course, it would just be a solid hit to get started with.

Her leg struck true–for all the good that did, and if she followed up her low starter on instinct, that would only make things worse. Even if the man’s opening haymaker completely whiffed, Sclerokinesis absorbed what would have otherwise been a counter hit, and Gemma replied with a revolving axe kick to stomp down on Sakura overhead. With his armor in place and his only possible fear a grab, he never needed to stop attacking, so he unleashed a barrage of advancing punches and kicks. The air around him buffeted Sakura as he moved, turned even near-misses into a heart-pumping affair.

Sakura was ready, and quickly retracted her leg as fast as it went out, balancing on her other foot just long enough to step out of the way of the revolving axe kick. She raised her fists and blocked and dodged the barrage of attacks, gritting her teeth as she back pedaled. There was some gray damage building up. Making a read she channeled fluid chi through her body and activated V-Shift. On one of his mighty punches, the world seemed to slow down and darken as her body glowed and left a vivid trail of sparkling blue energy in its wake. She stepped back cleanly. ”Saw it!”

With him advancing, she didn’t need to worry about closing the gap. She snatched his wrist and shoulder with both hands and turned into him. Though she could do it even if he was pulling away, his momentum would allow her to easily carry him over her shoulder and fling him down hard into the ground. The impact would require bystanders to have to regain their footing.

“Need a hand, Gisu.”

”Easy!” She rolled her shoulders and advanced on him, looking to harass him with kicks and jabs.

Gemma stopped before he hit the ground, levitating in the air in a somersault-like spin. After half a rotation he extended an upside-down kick trade with Sakura’s opening attack, and with Sclerokinesis still active his head took no damage, while hers got a solid boot. “Borrowing this,” he muttered. Beneath him a trampoline manifested from psychic energy. He fell into it, bounced up, and came down with a back-facing heel drop into a shoulder slam combo. Before Sclerokinesis could run out he switched it off manually, but his two other borrowed abilities remained active. He backed into a trampoline summoned vertically behind him and used it like the ropes of a wrestling ring to cannon himself after Sakura again. A mighty dropkick flew the girl’s way, made safer -and far longer-ranged- by the power of Levitation.

”Guh!” As she punched downwards, she thought it would be safe. But her face was smooshed to the side as the big boot collided. Reeling, she pinwheeled her arms as she backstepped, only to get hit twice by the heel drop into shoulder slam. Sakura fell backwards and hit the ground, transitioning into a back roll just in time to see the drop kick coming. She jumped up into the air, trying to go straight over it, her arms out to the side as she pulled her legs in.

Sakura managed to avoid the dropkick, not that surprising. After twisting enough to make sure he’d land on his feet, Gemma allowed himself to fall, right onto a diagonally-angled trampoline. He bounced after his opponent, albeit at a lower angle. How high he actually bounced didn’t matter if he could just lock in his desired height with Levitation again, after all. Barely a moment after she landed, he’d be on her again. This time he unleashed movie-style bicycle kicks, striking again and again in rapid succession while sliding through the air.

Intuitively, Sakura understood the power of the bounce, and knew that with this new aggressive fight style Gemma would be coming in for another attack. As he came in for his bicycle kick, she didn’t flinch and cover her head, or leap out of the way. In a move she thought was rather bold, she converted the bending knees of her falling from her jump into a roll, forward, into Gemma. Curling into a ball she aimed to slip underneath the kick and avoid the assault. When she rose, she fired off a fast moving fireball at his back. ”Hadoken!”

Rather than face the windmill of kicks, Gemma’s opponent swerved beneath it, moving right into his blind spot. He grunted, figuring he’d gotten too fancy. While he didn’t fancy a free hit to his back, he couldn’t use Sclerokinesis again just yet without bottoming out, so as he cut off Levitation to skid to a stop he took the fireball. It did damage, but only a little; in truth he barely felt it, thanks in part to his military-grade body armor. He pivoted around into a side-facing stance to get a bead on Sakura, but rather than let her gain momentum Gemma readied himself for a lunging body blow.

Sakura felt it coming- he did this kind of thing before. As she advanced after hitting him with the fireball, she was ready with a strong, long ranged kick. Not a roundhouse, but something to deter sudden advances. It was aimed for his face and she leaned back, sticking her foot out as far as possible to prevent his body blow from connecting. It would stop him dead in his tracks, unless he armored through.

Gemma still couldn’t, not yet at least, but that wasn’t his only option. Since Sakura had the drop on him, even if just for a split second, he hadn’t blindly committed, and instead folded his front arm in front of his head to block normally. As he weathered the blow, noting the power behind it, a trampoline appeared behind Sakura just before he switched that power off, as well. He launched a side kick of his own, his legs long enough to challenge and overcome Sakura’s range.

Sakura had pushed him away with that kick, and accounting for his longer range, shimmied backwards to go for a whiff punish. She didn’t anticipate the trampoline being there. With a small gasp she briefly lost her footing and stumbled forward after Gemma missed his kick. She tried to cross her arms in front of her head to block as she attempted to regain her footing.

Perfect. Gemma planted his foot and struck. He went for an elbow thrust to the gut, sliding beneath his opponent’s block, then followed up with a straight punch right to her defense. Sakura was bent around the elbow, her cheeks puffing outwards. The follow-up dealt negligible damage, but it did push her back into the trampoline one more time, breaking it as she bounced back. Gemma wound up for a door-buster kick for the ender, re-engaging Sclerokinesis at last just to make sure that no funny business happened if he could help it. None came, and she was sent stumbling back, still reeling. As Sakura got knocked away, he felt a familiar tug through the SAS: a chance for a Combo Vision. He seized it, and in the eyes of the psychic onlookers he disappeared, replaced by a teenage girl with red hair, techwear, and some bandages on her arms. With a snap of her fingers -or Gemma’s in Sakura’s eyes- she sent a spark flying forward– and after a full second’s delay, a massive fiery explosion erupted at its location. Then the Combo Vision blipped away again.

When the smoke and flames cleared, Sakura was on her back, her legs up and her arms crossed in an x in front of her. She had blocked the explosion, though it floored her. Her body hurt on the inside. But she could still fight. She kicked her legs out and landed on her feet, snapping back into a fighting position, taking a moment to wipe her lips.

”You’re gonna get it now.” She warned, excited. She swished her arms to her sides and they ignited with blue flame that traveled down her legs and settled on her sneakers. A flurry of cherry blossoms circled around her and fluttered into nothingness. Her V-Trigger, Sakura Senpu, had been activated. Her physical strikes were empowered with an overflow of ki energy, and she could perform more powerful techniques. She meant to activate this during the whiff punish, but this was the best she was going to get at this point. If she waited any longer she might not get a chance. All she saw was the potential for a comeback!

Gemma cracked a small smile. “Let’s do this, Hanabi.” In response his arms burst into flame, empowered by his squadmate’s Pyrokinesis.

Undeterred, Sakura ran forward. She started with a straight punch to the chest and advanced into an elbow to push him back. Then she jumped right in his face to check his chin with a knee. As she fell behind him she halted all of her momentum mid air and spun like a buzzsaw at head level, her leg extended outward. ”Shunpukyaku!”

Her target managed to block the first two strikes without activating his Sclerokinesis again, too depleted to be used for anything but an emergency, and his flames did not hurt in retaliation. Gemma turned with the second blow to issue a spinning backhand, not imagining that Sakura would recklessly throw herself toward him with a knee. It struck him in the ear, ringing his head, and the girl’s follow-up was immediate. Despite his first instinct to deploy his power again, gritted his teeth and bided his time, even as he reeled from the brief but furious onslaught. To his credit he threw out a formidable uppercut, but if she managed to avoid that she’d get her combo at last.

”Fly away!” Sakura shouted, blowing through his uppercut with a follow up straight kick upwards. There was a surge of blue energy and wind. Sakura leapt up to her opponent mid air. ”One, two..!” She brought down both of her fists twice, her and her opponent bouncing higher into the air. Instead of following up with a third, she dropped quickly to the ground before he could land, and met his falling form with quick uppercut.

”Midare Zakura!” After landing the first uppercut, she zipped back onto the ground and surged upward again, doing a longer, bigger, spinning uppercut that exploded at the apex. If all that hit, Gemma would fly straight up into the air. Sakura landed with a wobble, giggling breathlessly. ”Come on!”

Gemma came down a split second later, although he didn’t exactly land. Levitation brought him safely back down to the ground, at which point he wiped a smear of blood from his lip with the back of his hand. He’d deactivated Pyrokinesis when he started getting hit, but it flared back up now as he put up his hands like a boxer and began to move forward.

On the way over he deployed two Assault Visions in close succession. A psychic facsimile of Gisu Neruman sped forward first, floating atop her hoverboard and invisible to Sakura. She charged in and pulled off a sick kickflip, rotating the board like a saw for a flurry of unexpected hits. A moment later the Assault Vision of Morris Martinez descended, bouncing on his target three times with his blue levitation orb. By that time Gemma closed the distance, and he added a flurry of fiery punches to the mix.

The sick kickflip, though Sakura certainly wished she could see it for more than one reason, struck her head. ”Bwah! What the-?” She said, her head jerking to the side as she was hit from nowhere. Uncertain, she dropped low into a block as three more invisible impacts connected. Gemma began punching and Sakura skid backwards, shielding herself with her forearm. While V-Trigger empowered her abilities, it also removed the ability for V-Reversal or V-Shift, making her weaker defensively.

Gemma’s opponent was on the ropes, and it was time to make good on his stated intentions. He wiped out the remaining fifty percent of his Pyrokinesis to call upon an Assault Vision of Hanabi herself. Bo staff in hand, she twirled in front of him, releasing an arc of flame. At the same time, he activated Sclerokinesis once more, and punched the ground once more to deal the finishing blow to Sakura’s poise–and her Crush.

At that point he knew he could probably get off a Brain Crush of his own, but such a thing was completely unnecessary. He simply moved in with one forearm extended to get beneath whichever arm he could, then snake around it with an armored grab, a form of nonsense Sakura had been fortunate enough to encounter but rarely. Gemma jabbed his fist into his opponent’s stomach and made an uppercut motion to lift her up, over, and down on his opposite side, facing away from him. From there, he needed only to kneel and ensnare her neck from behind with his indomitable arm: a rear naked choke, all the tighter thanks to his usage of his other arm on the other side of her head. “Concede,” he said simply, and he began to squeeze.

”Ggk-” Sakura made an involuntary choking noise as she grabbed his arm to try and give herself some breathing space. She began to formulate a plan- she hadn’t done any EX moves yet and had a large reservoir of explosive power at her disposal. If she could just-

It was like someone flipped a switch in her brain. If someone was looking at her face they could see her go from composed to sheer panic in a moment, the light leaving her eyes. For some reason she fired a huge, misshapen blast of ki straight up into the air, to no effect. Her body flashed with an uneven orange energy, a pale imitation of her previous EX moves. That poor excuse for a reversal just used up all of her EX-meter!

Inside her mind someone had pulled the wool over her eyes. Something was coming! She can’t be here! This is terrible! I don’t wanna get turned into soup! Somebody HELP ME! The fact that they were in a spar was forgotten, she hadn’t the wherewithal to concede.

”Hhgk- guh…” So a few moments of flailing later her eyes rolled up under half-closed lids, and she was placed onto the mat. A moment passed and she startled awake, dizzy.

”Wh-wha-? What was…” She felt herself go red in the face. Embarrassed, no, humiliated, she recalled her total loss of composure. That had…literally never happened to her before in her entire life. She felt like she was going to cry!

Gemma blinked, startled. With all his powers and SAS disabled, he looked normal once more, which meant his concern was writ large on his face. This was a shocking change from the girl he’d seen moments before, inexplicable even by a sound defeat. “H-huh? Are you-”

”I- I’m sorry- I just- I’m sorry! G-g-good fight!” Hiding her face, she got up and ran away. Because she was wrong- that had happened before. Twice. Once on the Maw, and once when she was reminded of the Maw. And now it had happened again! Was she cursed forever?!

The spectators’ hype practically evaporated. One of them, a teenage girl with a ruby-red ponytail, gave her squadmate an accusatory look. “Nice, Gemma.”

“W-what?” The sounds of their exchange faded into the background as Sakura beat a hasty retreat.
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@TruthHurts22 Raz | @Lugubrious Gemma, Hanabi | @Zoey Boey Sakura, Karin

Midgar: Suoh - Anistar Gym, Part 3


Word Count: 2810
Level 4 Roxas: 22/40
Exp: 3
NEW EXP Balance--- 25/40


Roxas had been keeping quiet for basically everything. What they were told out in that alleyway bugged him, especially when thinking back to what that Coach guy said earlier. “Duds”. That was the word he used. All these psychics apparently believed that anyone without mind powers were… well, lesser somehow. And all around, the very structure of Suoh seemed to reinforce this idea. Lots of signs and things that “duds” like him couldn’t even read. But he’d bitten his tongue for the sake of helping his friend, Raz.

Once everyone was in the gym, Roxas continued to keep his thoughts to himself. He watched as Goldlewis and Midna left to go elsewhere. And he also watched Sakura challenge the OSF guy to a sparring match. Everything seemed to be… normal, for the most part. Maybe this feeling Roxas had was just in his head after all? But then he saw how Sakura’s match eventually ended. The OSF member ended up pulling out all the stops with his SAS connection and Sakura eventually freaked out and ran out of the gym.

Roxas looked back and considered going after Sakura for a moment. But then, without really considering his actions, Roxas clenched his hands into fists and glared back in the direction of the OSF people. That was it, he’d had it up to here with all this psychic stuff. Roxas pushed his way forward and eventually found himself confronting them with an angry look on his face.

”What did you do to my friend?” he demanded, his tone even but definitely not happy, ”And yeah, I know. You’re Psych-OSF and we’re just a couple of worthless duds, right? Well I don’t care! You’re all a bunch of big-headed jerks from where I’m standing!”

The onlookers had drifted away from the fight’s conclusion, chattering all about how it went. Gemma’s strength, martial skill, and mindful usage of SAS were as commendable as ever, but more of the watchers seemed riveted by Sakura’s surprising tenacity. She’d managed to take on incredible odds and force Gemma to push himself, all with an upbeat attitude, right up until the end. Her opponent, weary and sore from their match, had seated himself on the ground against a nearby wall with his water bottle, defending himself not with his fists but with faltering words against the accusations of his squadmate Hanabi. She insisted that he fought too hard, and should have known better than to take Sakura’s blank check at face value. Given how things turned out, he was hard-pressed to disagree, too.

Hanabi mellowed out after Gemma resolved to find Sakura and apologize, but their exchange came to an abrupt end when Roxas showed up. Neither knew this kid, but he was clearly pissed, even if he kept himself from going all-out furious. Hanabi didn’t know how to handle it. “H-hey, wait a sec, just settle down…”

Gemma frowned. So this boy was a dud? Despite his many years of service, Gemma practically never met duds. Such people were rare around here, since any who cropped up tended to move to less psychic sectors in Midgar, but those without the means to do so tended to not make big deals of themselves, even if that meant stoking the flames of resentment in silence. After all, in Sector 5 mental ineptitude was practically a disability. Maybe he was from out of town? The soldier exhaled, his eyes closed as he mulled over Roxas’ outcry. It didn’t matter where he came from, or that he didn’t have any experience with scenarios like this. As a senior Psych-OSF soldier, it fell to him to defuse this situation.

“Maybe we are,” he said flatly, opening his eyes. “In our organization, power is everything. We have to be strong enough to fight, and if need be die, for the people of Midgar. For those we care about. And in pursuit of strength, maybe we’ve lost sight of something important.” He shrugged and put his water bottle down. “I can tell you this though, son. If you’re saying that young lady I fought was a dud, then I have nothing but the deepest and utmost respect for her. I only fought her because she asked me to, in order to honor her request as a fellow martial artist. What happened at the end I can’t explain. Some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder, maybe. Either way, she gave an incredible account of herself, not as a dud, but as a warrior. That’s all I can really say.”

The blonde twins nearby nodded vigorous, prompting Hanabi to step forward with renewed determination. “Yeah, she was amazing! It’s true psychic power is vital to the OSF, but there are lots of different people in Midgar with different talents of their own.” With a bright smile she tried to wipe away the anger and doubt that plagued Roxas. “I’m sure it’s just the same for you! Nobody’s worthless.”

"...Then why do you call us 'duds'?" Roxas asked flatly, "Why are we not allowed to fight even if we're clearly capable?" in all honesty his frustration stemmed from the stirring of bad memories, but Roxas continued, "You might be able to make yourselves stronger with your SAS link, but people don't need psychic connections to give each other strength. I've seen it for myself plenty of times."

He then pointed his right index finger to his temple, "Is what's up here really all that matters? Because in my experience…" he then lowered his hand and pressed it against his chest, "...it's the strength that comes from here that matters most. And you don't need to be psychic for that."

Where was he even going with this? These people weren't even the real causes of his anger. It was starting to feel like he was just lashing out for the sake of it. He took a deep breath and finally started to calm himself, "If you actually gave us a chance to, then my friends could prove once and for all that 'duds' aren't helpless and could even help you more than you think. But I'm guessing most of your Captains and higher ups are too prideful to consider that, aren't they?"

Having now said his piece for the time being, the Keyblade Wielder decided it was best to disengage, "I'd better go after Sakura and make sure she's okay. Sorry if I caused a scene." and then he took off running to find Sakura.

The OSF soldiers watched him go, sour looks upon their faces. Whoever that guy was, his bitterness clearly went deep, deep enough to take two random people and mark them as responsible for all of society’s ills, perceived or otherwise. Hanabi’s expression in particular portrayed an acute sadness that her attempts to reassure him fell upon deaf ears. Gemma, meanwhile, massaged his temples with the palms of his hands. “Hmm,” he grunted. “I hope he doesn’t run off and get killed by Others trying to prove himself.”

“Yeah,” Hanabi agreed, her voice a soft murmur. She tried to think of something else to say, something that could neatly encapsulate the situation so she could push it off to the side, but nothing came to mind.

It would most likely be easier to find Karin than it would to find Sakura. Sakura hadn’t gone far, just outside the gym and around the corner of the building, where she had curled up into a sad little ball. Karin had watched the bout from a distance and casually Sakura. Karin stood in plain view next to Sakura’s ‘hiding spot.’

Sure enough, Roxas spotted Karin first. But he knew the two were usually hanging out together so he went toward her thinking she might have an idea where Sakura went.

”Well.” Karin began. That was embarrassing.”

”I know!” Sakura said, clasping the sides of her head.

”You really lost your cool there.” Karin continued. Sakura didn’t say anything.

”...Quite unbecoming.” Karin added, trying to figure out how to word this.

”Ugh!” Sakura tried to curl up more. ”Darn it!”

”Whoa, hey, don’t you think that’s kinda harsh?” Roxas asked Karin, now close enough to see where Sakura was sitting. Rather than stand over Sakura, he instead moved around and sat down on the ground next to her, ”You okay? Looked like you had it pretty rough toward the end there. I dunno if it’s any consolation, but that Gemma guy seemed pretty sorry. He also said he respected the strength you showed there.”

Sakura looked up at Roxas. They hadn’t talked much, but, if he was one of the Seekers, she felt like she could trust him. ”Of course he’s sorry.” Sakura said, glum. ”He thinks he beat up some stupid girl. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a real rematch out of him now!” She covered her face with her hands again.

”I totally freaked out! That’s never happened to me before, Roxas-san, I swear! I don’t care about getting hurt!” She explained, desperately. ”Do you know how hard it is to get people to take me seriously?! I can never show my face in that gym again!”

”He doesn’t think you’re stupid.” Roxas responded, ”He has the utmost respect for you. Told me so himself.” Roxas wisely decided not to elaborate about why he spoke to him, since it was irrelevant to this situation anyway. But so far his attempts to cheer Sakura weren’t working as well as he’d hoped. He sort of wished Aqua or Riku were here, since they’d probably have a better idea of what to say.

”So maybe you just had an off-day?” he offered, ”Everyone has those. But… why do you say it’s hard to get people to take you seriously, Sakura? I’ve seen you fight a few times now, and you’re good. Like, really good. And you don’t even need to use weapons or magic like, say, I do. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.”

Sakura sighed, and managed a smile. ”Thanks, Roxas-san. But…well…it’s just-” She wasn’t sure how to explain this.

”It’s just that Sakura-chan’s pride as a fighter is on the line!” Karin declared. ”To earn the pity of one’s opponent is far worse than earning their disdain.” She said.

”Didn’t look like pity to me.” Roxas retorted, ”His exact words were something along the lines of having nothing but the deepest and utmost respect for you, and that you gave an incredible account of yourself as a warrior. Now,” he paused and shot an incredulous look at Karin, ”Does that sound like ‘pity’ to either of you?”

”Yeah.” Sakura said under her breath.

And then he added something else, aimed at Karin in particular, ”How come you’re being so harsh? Isn’t Sakura your friend?”

”She is my rival, first. And her feelings need not be coddled.” Karin said, undeterred.

”Well with friends like you-”

”I’m sorry, Roxas-san. She’s right- I embarrassed myself out there. The crowd should be cheering at the end of a fight! They all felt bad for me. I mean- don’t you feel bad for me? That’s why you came after me, right?” Sakura asked, smiling sadly.

”I came after you because you’re my friend. Simple as that.”

”I know it might seem strange to you. Sorry. It wasn’t just an off-day. Something’s wrong with me- I’m…I’m sick in the head, or something, and I need to fix it. I just don’t know how.” Sakura said, smacking her noggin in the way she was prone to do.

”Hey, come on, don’t beat yourself up. That’s not gonna help anyone. Least of all yourself.” Ugh, he was floundering here. There had to be something he could say, ”May your Heart be your guiding key.” he finally told her, deciding he needed to say something straight from the heart.

“It’s something my friends and I learned in my world. Your Heart knows what’s best for you, Sakura. All you have to do is listen to it.”

”Ugh.” Karin rolled her eyes.

”Shh! Be nice.” Sakura chastised her friend. ”And don’t worry, Roxas-san-” She slapped the sides of her head again.

”-I do that all the time. I think it helps me focus. Or maybe it’s just a bad habit. I’m not beating myself up or anything.” Sakura said. ”As for listening to my heart…” She tapped her chin. ”Hmm.” She went quiet, staring up at the sky, concentrating.

That’s when a small cough came from the side. There was Raz, standing a step behind Roxas, from where he gave a little wave. ”Uhh, hey there. Sorry, I got caught up in the crowd, then I didn’t want to interrupt… anyways.” He took a few steps closer to Sakura and looked at her gently. ”If you’re having trouble figuring out what’s keeping you down, I can always take a look inside there for you.” He pulled out his trusty Psycho-Portal and held it up to show. ”See if I can’t help smooth over that mental block y’got?”

Sakura blinked out of her heart-listening reverie. She returned Raz’s wave, but ended up staring at the little door Raz was holding, and the suggestion he made. Karin peered over Raz’s shoulder, curious.

”A… door?” Roxas stared at the device with a confused look.

Sakura got onto her knees, excited. ”I- I mean, if you could help me, that would be- great! It really isn’t normal. I had this…bad experience back on this scary ship called the Maw. And it’s been haunting me ever since! I wanna say every time I feel like I’m stuck, I freak out, but…” She shrugged, animated and unsure.

”But, do you mean like, look inside my head? My brain? Like some kind of surgery?” Sakura said, a little unsure about that.

”Ehhh… not really.” Raz gave the portal a small shake for emphasis. ”This - the Psycho-Portal - lets us psychics project into people’s brains. And when inside we can help with whatever mental trouble they have. It’s a staple of the Psychonauts, and… Psych-OSF might do it too? I haven’t really tried it since I met up with the others, and it didn’t even work before I got freed from Galeem, but if you’re okay with me poking around your thoughts and memories and emotions, I’d be happy to help!”

Sakura looked at Raz, then at Roxas, and then at Karin. Then, back at Raz. ”This is…really important to me. If this keeps happening, I won’t be able to street fight anymore. It might even get in the way of our fight against Galeem.” She was quiet for a moment, thinking about it.

”And you do this for a job, Raz-kun? For lots of people?” She asked.

Raz nodded enthusiastically. ”Certified mental explorer right here! You’ll be in capable hands! Not to toot my own horn or anything.”

”Go ahead!” Sakura said with a laugh. ”I’d rather have someone be confident, right? That’s reassuring to hear.” Sakura scratched her head.

”Alright, Raz-kun.” She nodded, her mind made up. ”Please, help me out.” On her knees already, she briefly bowed her head.

With a final, affirmative nod, Raz placed the portal on the top of Sakura’s bowed head. It instantly popped open, revealing a swirling orange-ish vortex. He then paused, looking over to Karin and Roxas with a nervous smirk. ”If anything, uhhh, happens out here while I’m busy, there’s a thing of smelling salts in the second right pocket of my jacket. Y’know, for emergencies.” He reached up for his goggles, pulling them down over his eyes, as a ghostly image of the boy formed, flowing from himself into the portal, after which, it snapped shut.

It was go time.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

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Word Count: 777 (+2 exp)
Level: 8 - Total EXP: 103/80
Location: The Under - Ruins

𝙱𝙿 ●●●●

As the group continued back toward the temple, Primrose filed away the information that Barnabee gave them about the mask in case it might be useful. To be honest she wasn't sure any of the short story the Hive Knight had shared would matter at all, given it seemed to be a piece of mythology rather. Even so she picked out the words Lurien, Home of Tears, and most importantly: two more fragments. When he finished she gave him a wordless nod. It turn out that the mask fit into one of the grooves in the door, so at least they were making progress. The rest of that particular mask's pieces would be back through that colorless forest no doubt, while the others remained to be found. The Koopa Troop had their theories about the them, and while Primrose didn't have any opinions on 'evil workmansship' when Kamek mentioned the person that attacked them earlier her eyes narrowed in distaste.

"That Consul... I wouldn't be surprised if they did do something like that just to sit back and watch us flounder and struggle." An irritating thought, but ultimately there was nothing that they could do about it until F showed his face again.

First, though, there was a reunion due.

They moved on, back the way they'd originally come and up to the edge of a vertical cavern that the other group had descended. Primrose looked over the edge, watching father and son make their way down. Before the rest of them moved, Kamek offered to conjure them mounts. The dancer watched with interest as the old koopa cast his magic, though when a spider hatched from the egg Primrose's lip twitched, unamused. Though Kamek assured them that he could conjure creatures other than spiders, and Primrose believed him, she declined his offer. Her hair and the fabric of the twin crown bounced as she shook her head.

"Thank you kindly Kamek, but I would rather rely on my own legs," she said, further put off by Rika's comments.

She jumped down into the shaft, her form more elegant now with the glowing scarf unfurled behind her than it had been in battle with the brood mother. She floated gently between platforms, generally steering clear of bothersome bugs until touching down at the bottom. From there, they found the remains of a battle and the mapmaker that the others had been looking for. Naturally, it seemed after purchasing a map the other group continued on. So the six of them continued on as well.

After a while of walking down darkened tunnels and listening to the echoes of scuttling bugs with no sign of their companions, Primrose held in a sigh. They must have traveled further than they intended to, just like we did, she thought. Either that, or they had taken a wrong turn and were treading a different path. Primrose considered herself to be pretty good at reading maps after traveling for months in her own world, so she tapped Kamek on the shoulder in order to peek at the one he'd purchased. He showed it to her and she found it to be... incredibly lacking. Still a work in progress, I see...

There was nothing more to do than press on, and even with a vague map it would be easier finding their way back again. At one point Rika split off to chase after another of her planes, and after some doubling back to look for her, she returned with Bowser Jr. safe and sound. Primrose didn't mind listening to the chastisement Bowser and Kamek were giving her as the group began moving forward again. The strange little family's dynamics were endearing.

When the path split, the Seekers came upon a huge cavern - one that they were all surprised to find, Barnabee included (she had taken the bee's claims about not getting lost with a large grain of salt anyway).

"They had Ganondorf and that little knight with them," Primrose mused, "so I suppose it's possible they could have been led through this area around the... worms." Her gaze was set on the ground where the Goams popped up and down, unsure what else to call them. Still, if the others came through here they least they could have done was left some sort of sign or trail to follow. To that end, while Bowser Jr. called out to some of the more intelligent looking bugs Primrose went back to the cavern's mouth, just inside the tunnel they'd emerged from. There, she used the devout beads whip to carve a quick and crude 'X' into the wall and then returned to the group.



Word Count: 975 (+2 exp)
Level: 5 - Total EXP: 63/50
Location: The Under

𝙱𝙿 ●●●●●
Stress Level: 35

In, slash, stab, out. Rinse, repeat. It was working, and gradually the number of enemies in the room was getting lower, even when more spawned in. The queen bee commented that if they didn't focus on the giant, the battle would only last longer. At that, Therion grit his teeth in irritation. Easier said than done, he thought as he fended off a Brawler.

"Instead of complaining about it, find a way to keep it still so we can attack it," he snapped at Sectonia. The whole group had been peppering the giant whenever they could, but it was quick and dangerous - and the monsters it summoned were even more troublesome. They'd be dead if they ignored them.

Case in point, while he'd been briefly distracted with admonishing Sectonia the Brawler lurched toward him with its pulsating red flesh curled around its arm, extending the limb into toothed cleaver. The exchange had only taken a second, but it was time enough for the Brawler to land a blow on Therion, who'd hastily thrown his arms up in defense. The Brawler's claw cracked against the fool's bangle and sliced his forearms, sending another shock of pain and stress through his body. The thief backed off quickly, throwing a cast of Wildfire at the monster to stave it off for a few moments. While it writhed in the flame, Therion caught his breath. Fuck, feels like it nearly took my arms off. Thankfully, they were still attached. The thought crossed his brain that he really needed to learn how to use that shield he picked up for situations just like this when the Brawler wiped it's arms out with a grunt, scattering the fire.

It was on it's last legs, scorched and battered from skirmishes with other Seekers. Therion was eager to put it out of its misery, and so he dove towards it after flicking the blood from his arms. He went low, ducking under the wide slash the Brawler aimed at him. He stabbed the fleshy limb with the stinging dagger, slicing a line down through it. Drawing it out and swapping the weapon to his opposite hand, Therion thrust the blade up through the underside of the Brawler's chin. Aggravated and dying, the Brawler brought its still-human hand around to capture Therion's wrist and try to wrench the weapon out, but its grip weakened as it began dissolving. Reduced to ash and spirit, Therion left it there and returned to the relative safety of the room's arches.

From there, he heard a scream of pure fear over the din of battle. His head snapped toward the noise to find Ms. Fortune escaping the maw of the abomination that had been the cultist priest. That one was a real pain, but it was hard to find a good opening to go after it. Just after that, another voice rose above the chaos, that of the FBC Director.

"Alive," he called back. Hurting and stressed out, but alive and looking to stay that way. He was no strategist or tactician, but he took a moment to get a picture of the battlefield and saw that everyone was in various states of wounded, some worse off than him and some nearly untouched. He didn't speculate on what that said about some of them, instead Therion shifted his attention back to Ms. Fortune as she prepared to take on the Priest. He moved, waiting in the wings for his cue.

When it came thanks to the combined efforts of Nadia and Jesse, Therion took over. Adverse to getting any closer than he really had to, the thief kicked off from a pile of rubble and jumped into the air over the Priest while summoning his striker beneath him. Curled into its iron ball the junicorn slammed down into the Priest, splattering the eldritch monster into juicy chunks. Weakly its tentacles squirmed from underneath the junicorn to no avail. Therion landed on top of the striker, one leg tucked in a kneeling position and his tail swishing back and forth. Finally, the Priest was defeated. Therion turned his head to Ms. Fortune, giving her a very unamused look after she made her double pun.

It was through even more puns that she claimed the battle was nearly over. Above them, the giant roared and summoned another fresh batch of enemies. Among them was another damned cultist priest, and another much more menacing looking monster. At that moment, a bright light on one side of the room caught Therion's attention only to see Ganondorf turn into a monster even larger and more dangerous looking than any that had been summoned so far. He was charging at the giant's leg, so while that happened Therion tapped the junicorn and pointed toward the Impaler. The junicorn stood up, its crimson horn appearing as it took aim. Just before it fired, Mom stopped down nearby. It wasn't close enough to disrupt the striker, but Ganon's wild swings as he came in to attack the giant certainly did.

Therion didn't know if the junicorn's shot hit its target, he'd been too busy getting out of the way when he realized that he'd end up collateral damage to Ganon's attacks if he stayed put. He leapt off of the junicorn and out of the way, but the striker wasn't as lucky. One of those massive swords struck it and sent it hurdling away. Though the junicorn's defense was high, the wild swing's damage transferred over to the thief - it felt like he'd just been punched in the gut.

"What the hell!" he shouted to Ganon after a wheeze and a cough, though if the king of evil could hear it he did not respond. Once more Therion headed to the fringes of the battle. His support from here would be in the form of flying daggers, but ultimately he was leaving the remaining Seekers to deal with the cultists, and with Mom.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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Midgar: Suoh - Anistar Gym, Part 4

Goldlewis' @Lugubrious & Midna’s @DracoLunaris

Wordcount: 4,203 (+5)


In the wake of the Other attack, Suoh had come alive again. Like a turtle peeking out from its shell, the populace had taken to the streets once more, all their business hastily resumed as if an assault from bizarre brain-eating monstrosities barely constituted a blip on the radar. The Sector 3 plate was a big city with an awful lot of ground to cover, enough to be overwhelming to an outsider even without the psychic sensitivity necessary to see its extravagant true form. When looking for a needle in a haystack like this, where could one possibly begin?

Luckily, Goldlewis had at least a semblance of an idea as for where to start. He set off at a leisurely lumber, trying to retrace his steps to where he began despite the detour offered by Luka’s teleportation. “Before everythin’ went belly-up, the Princess and I were in a courtyard kinda thing surrounded by apartments,” he explained to his companion. As he spoke, he paused whenever their trek brought them too close to a camera cluster out of an abundance of caution, which meant frequent breaks in the conversation. “People were walkin’ their dogs, and if I know anythin’ it’s that dogs love goin’ after other critters, so if there’s any psychic creatures around it ain’t a bad place to start. Plus, I remember seein’ some kind o’ board with some folks gathered ‘round. Didn’t think much of it at the time, but maybe it has to do with housin’ in these parts.”

Midna listened to this and then, considering there did not seem to contain nearly as much skullduggery as she had assumed, popped out of his shadow so he wouldn’t look like a weirdo talking to himself. Not that she was going to give up a free ride either, and so the princess wound up perching herself on one of his very wide shoulders as they navigated the dud unfriendly town.

Limited by the veteran’s rather pedestrian mobility, the two made their way back toward the bottom end of Main Street. With the crossing signs invisible to the mentally inept, they needed to use the raised walkways, which took them on a somewhat circuitous route. Good thing we’re in no rush, Goldlewis noted. He took advantage of the journey to keep a close eye out on the off-chance anything interesting appeared, but the Suoh streets didn’t cough up anything of relevance. After some time, though, his trip along the tiled sidewalk brought him near two people who seemed to be in a heated argument. Though both seemingly in their early twenties, and sported striped clothes, the young man and woman were otherwise diametrically opposed, their back-and-forth causing such a ruckus that Goldlewis couldn’t help but intervene. “Beggin’ your pardon,” he began. “But is everythin’ alright with y’all?”

“Ah!” The twin in green turned to face the newcomer, relief writ large on his face. “Everything’s fine. Better now that you’ve arrived in fact. You look like you have a head on your shoulders, sir. Maybe you could help me explain to my sister here that’s she’s talking complete and utter nonsense…”

The twin in pink scoffed. “Pff, don’t make me laugh! This guy’s obviously not from around here, so you’re about to get a serious reality check, Palom.” She looked from her brother to Goldlewis. “So? Who’re you rooting for?” With her eyes she motioned in the direction of the wall in front of the two of them.

Goldlewis followed her gaze, but he saw nothing there. Drat, must be one of them Vision things, he thought, trying to think of a way to handle this. “Well, who’re you two rootin’ for?”

“Shinra, obviously!” Palom laughed. “Like any self-respecting citizen of Suoh, or Midgar, for that matter! Thanks to his administration Psych-OSF is stronger than ever, doing the jobs of the other branches for them, and we’re finally making real progress against the Ever Crisis.” He crossed his arms. “Porom doesn’t get that if he’s voted out now, we’ll be right back to square one!”

Emphatically shaking her head, his sister jabbed her finger at him. “You’re full of crap. We’re not making any progress, it’s all smoke and mirrors. The media’s in Shinra’s pocket, and all he cares about is money and power. Meanwhile, people are suffering everywhere, even on the plates Shinra loves so much. It’s like Armstrong says: the administration’s rotten to the core. It’s time for a do-over, and when the undercities come to bat for him, you’ll see for yourself.”

“That’d cause so much more harm than good, it’s not even funny. Armstrong’s dangerous, he’s just taking advantage of people’s anger and resentment. Like lighting a powderkeg! Besides, it won’t matter what rabble thinks because it’s the councilors’ vote that matters, and they’re appointed by the administration.”

“That’s exactly the kind of BS I’m talking about, Palom! People are sick and tired of the way things are. If Shinra’s corrupt system wins again despite all the public support for Armstrong, there’s going to be riots, mark my words!” She rounded on Goldlewis. “So? Who’s right, me or him?”

Such vehement political discourse was nothing new to Goldlewis. Although not happy to be embroiled in this all of a sudden, he counted his lucky stars that it didn’t involve him directly. “Hmm,” he mused. “Well, I ain’t decided yet. Both sides got a point or two, I reckon. I’m gonna wait ‘til tomorrow’s debate.”

At that, both twins rolled their eyes and groaned. “Ugh, another enlightened centrist.”

“Must be tough having to lug that gigantic brain around with you everywhere.”

“I bet he’s gonna go third-party and throw away his vote.”

“Not even! That’s actively sabotaging whichever real candidate he agrees most with!” Suddenly united, the two turned to walk away together. “Hey, Palom, I could go for a latte right about now.”

“And overdose on sugar? Get bent. How about a nice tea instead?”

“If you like dirty water so much, go boil your head.”

”This seems like a pretty convoluted and ineffectual voting system” was what Midna had to offer on the subject, specifically to Goldlewis and not to the pair who she was happy to let get another argument started between each other.

Goldlewis shrugged. “Par for the course when it comes to politics, princess.”

”Can’t agree, mine is much better” she retorted, though she was incredibly biased of course, being that it had put her in power.

”I mean, if there’s only two people really in the running, and there’s these councilors who make the decision anyway, then it seems to me like the election part is pageantry to give the drapings of popular support and legitimacy? Or does it actually matter?” the princess asked the man who lived here, wanting to know if they should be paying attention to this at all, before realizing that ”Not that there’s really been one of these before I suppose. All the previous ones are fake Galeem memories”

“I…hmm.” Not expecting to have been left uneasy by Midna’s remarks on the matter, Goldlewis scratched at his neck, contemplating what she said. “Probably. Hard to tell what really happened, and what just started out this way when the World of Light got made.” He crossed his arms, his brow furrowed. “For instance, Shinra’s been president in the World of Light for years, that much I know, but when I ask most folks can’t say how many years. Now, I can rattle off fifty US presidents in a row, first name, last name, political party, home state, and favorite football team, but I couldn’t tell ya who took office before Shinra. And I used to be Secretary of State, for Pete’s sake! Somethin’s plain wrong when it comes to record-keepin’ in Midgar, and I’d sure like to find out why.” By this point the twins were gone, so Goldlewis and Midna got moving again.

”It must be a real headache to be a historian in this place, that is for sure” Midna said in agreement.

”You know I sort of want to find one and grill them now, just to see what will happen. Because that is the kind of thing that would be written down somewhere in a real world, and I have to wonder what is sitting in the places it normally would be written. Are they just missing? Are there empty books that the Galeeming see as full?” she speculated ”and I wonder if there’s a way to pull at the seams enough for the whole charade to come undone?” because wouldn’t that just be a mighty boon and a half to their efforts.

Her speculation earned her a shrug from Goldlewis. No matter which world he resided in, there would be countless secrets locked away behind closed doors. Given the sheer size and complexity of Midgar, his team would be lucky just to find and topple the Guardian here. Finding out and exposing the truth of this world was a much less simple and concrete task.

Before much longer, the two arrived back where Goldlewis and Peach began, the central courtyard of the apartment complex called Kong King. People were out and about again, some of them with their dogs or other critters. He sauntered over to the important-looking board he remembered seeing earlier, but could only heave a sigh when he came to a crucial realization. “...It’s psychic,” he said aloud, staring at the blank slate with its dark obsidian sheen. A discreet glance at a nearby homeowner, perhaps checking up on property values, confirmed the sort of rapid eye movements that one might expect when skimming through a spreadsheet or something similar, but whatever he was reading was completely invisible to Goldlewis. “I really oughta figured. Woulda asked Raz to come along, but I didn’t want to stress the poor boy any.” He held his hands up helplessly. “Not to disparage present company, mind.”

”So, I do have a way of reading this actually … it’s just going to be filtered through a, uh, well you’ll see” Midna replied, before she snapped her fingers and summoned one of the Psynumbra Initiates she had acquired from the convent atop the split mountain. The nearby homeowner’s jaw dropped, allowing his cigarette to fall to the pavement. He then cleared his throat, did an abrupt about-face, and strolled away with his hands in his pockets, whistling badly.

The dead amazonian woman, wearing hooded and spiked attire, and the general aura of desolation wafting off her, turned her glowing gaze from the man she had just scared off to the princess and asked, simply “what?” to which Midna replied by pointing to the board and telling her to to tell them ”What’s it say on here?” As it turned out, this particular board contained nothing of use. Just about every apartment around here was occupied, and the couple that weren’t all had dozens of bids on them, with amounts reaching into thousands if not tens of thousands of kins. Housing in Suoh Central was at a major premium, it seemed.

“That ain’t surprisin’,” Goldlewis said as the Striker disappeared. “Even the cheapest places are gonna be an arm and a leg when you’re smack dab in the middle of one of Midgar’s supercenters. With all the surveillance up here, we probably don’t want somewhere in Suoh anyhow.” He stroked his whiskers thoughtfully. “If anythin’, we oughta set our sights a little lower. And I mean that literally.” He extended a finger, circling in the air, then pointed it straight down. “In Seiran.”

He put his hands in his pockets. “From what I gather, Seiran ain’t bad as far as undercities go. The skyscrapers go all the way from the reservoir down below to the plate itself, like they’re helpin’ to hold it up. Might be easier to commute between Suoh and Seiran than most uppers an’ lowers in Midgar. And it’d be a hell of a lot easier findin’ somewhere to hole up. Only problem is, how to get down. We could…?”

Goldlewis glanced over Midna’s shoulder. Pets weren’t an uncommon sight in this spot, but he had yet to see something unattended, or without an obvious owner. And just now he spotted a small, furry shape dart down the stairs from the central gazebo into the underground concourse. He blinked a couple times, knitting his brows together. “Huh, thought I saw somethin’ skedaddle down that way. Someone’s dog get loose?” He glanced at Midna, wondering where she stood on random acts of kindness.

”I missed it” she admitted, as she turned to look the way he was, peering down into the more comfortable looking dark before gave him a glance and asked ”What, do you want to go look for it?” rhetorically before shrugging and saying that ”I wouldn’t be against it. We can walk and talk and take a look at the same time. Or well, you can walk anyway”

”As for how to get under?” the shoulder riding princess said, getting back on that topic that had been interrupted, and having a think out loud on the matter ”Well… I’m not exactly familiar with how you’d even build a city like this … but, well, there have to be sewers, and big ones too, with this many people and with the streets this clean, right? Not that I like the idea of being in one, but the waste must go down from up here … and presumably under the plate somehow to a … lower sewer of some kind and then out to the sea … whichever direction that was in again”

Goldlewis shuddered as the two made their way to the courtyard’s central control point, then hooked a left to head down the stairs. “Not too fond of that idea. My first thought was to find some parachutes or somethin’, head to the edge of the plate, and just fly down. Buuut after considerin’ how far out o’ the way that is, and how it might leave us stuck down there, we best think o’ somethin’ else.” After reaching the underground concourse, he took a wide, sweeping glance around the partially-covered passageway, wide open as it was. Like the area up above with its projections of a grassy field dotted with wildflowers, this area used Visions as well; on the blue-tinged side it simulated an underwater reef, with fish and other creatures swimming around, while the red-tinged side featured a crystalline cave with miniature streams of magma. Goldlewis could see none of it, so all that he observed was a pretty stark, wide-open corridor. “Other sectors have ways to get between upper and lower legit, so I reckon there’s ways here, too,” he continued as he looked around for any sign of runaway critters. “Blue-collar workers gotta get up from cheap housin’ to work their city jobs somehow.”

”Guess we could always follow one home then” Minda said, before realizing how bad what she had said sounded and quickly detoured into suggesting ”or, well, I mean there must be somewhere where they have maps of the city, maybe even on sale, right?”

In the opposite direction, a couple boxes suddenly stirred. They rocked violently as a blue, raggedy shape pushed in behind them, trying to hide out of sight. With all the Visions around the average bystander would be experiencing too much sensory overload to notice, but for the nearby duds the desperate maneuver was a clear giveaway.

”I’m starting to think we followed whatever Midgar’s rat equivalent is instead of a lost pet” Midna speculated, before shrugging and slipping off the big man’s shoulder anyway ”oh well, in for a green in for a red. I’ll grab it, don’t want you getting physic rabies or something after all”

That said, she pulled out the sun on a stick from the twilight realm, floated silently over to the box, and then used the stick to tip up the box. Before whatever it was that had led them down here had a chance to run, she darted her shadowhand forwards to snatch it up in her magical grasp.

What she grasped was not a rat, but a cat. Or at least, something very cat-like. It had two puffy tails, ears tall enough to curl forward, and slitted green eyes. In pristine condition it might have been an adorable creature, in fact, but to say it had seen better days was a gross understatement. It was scrawny and clearly malnourished, and its blue fur was lusterless and thin. Injuries covered its body, including lacerations, blunt impacts, and even burn marks. In Midna’s grasp it struggled furiously, but weakly, equal parts angry and terrified. After a moment spent flailing its limbs around, the critter attempted to focus, and as its eyes began to glow it lifted its ears. A Psybeam shot at Midna’s head in a last-ditch effort to deal damage to and perhaps confuse its captor so that it could make its escape.

”On no you poor- ah!” the princess, who got completely blindsided by the attack due to a rush of empathy for the beat up cattish creature, cried out as she was blasted by psychic power … and also lost the 1 in 10 dice roll and was struck with confusion.

”What in their name” the princess said, holding her helmeted forehead in one hand as her mind spun and she lost her grip on the creature.

Goldlewis ran toward her, taken aback. “What happened? You okay?” He furrowed his brow at the critter as it ran, knowing that there was no way on earth he’d be able to catch it, let alone use his coffin on it–even if he wanted to. More than anger, he felt pity for the poor thing. Just what the hell happened to it?

The ragged stray scurried away on all fours, only for shouting from the direction of the stairs to freeze it in its tracks. Down the steps thundered three rank-and-file OSF soldiers, all of them very distinct. In the lead was a rather blobbish woman with little hornlike nubs on her head that bounced along with the rest of her as she plodded along, her skin slightly tinted green. Just a step behind her followed a yellow-haired man with a really big nose, his pupils beady and small, with a fancier Psych-OSF uniform than normal thanks to its fluffy white collar. A little farther back was a teenage boy with no outstanding features to speak of, although he did look rather distressed.

“There it is!” the woman thundered. She stopped, planted her leg like a sumo wrestler, and extended her palm. With a yowl the Meowstic floated in the air. “Ready for Somnokinesis, Mifune!”

Her colleague with the massive snooter stepped up to bat. Rather than wield the weapon slung across his back, he began making swirling motions with his hands. “...Sleep!” As if on cue, his target went limp, passed out and snoozing in the air. He relaxed, exhaling deeply. “...Alright, you’re up, Souta.”

“R-right.” As the other two watched, the boy stepped forward, a Pokeball held in his hand. He looked terribly reluctant, however, and his hand was shaking.

Goldlewis didn’t know what to make of the situation, other than that these people seemed to be some sort of supernatural animal control. Maybe someone had called the psychic pound on that critter if it had been running around blasting people’s brains. Unsure of what to do, he remained by Midna’s side, trying to literally snap her out of her confusion.

Midna, not in a state of mind to recognise that these were probably professionals and not threats to the poor panicked catcreature, but also aware enough of herself to know she was in no state to do anything, vaguely pointed in the direction of the pokemon and commanded ”Fetch”

Promoted by this her wolfos burst out of a portal and when scampering across the concrete towards the pokemon and a breakneck pace, only to skid to a halt right before the cat which it moved to gently pick up like a puppy/kitten by the scruff of its neck in order to transport it back to the princess.

“Hey! Stop!” Before the wolfos could get far, the catcher’s telekinesis lifted it into the air. It was too late, however; the sudden motion woke the sleeper up, and it began to attack, scratching its captor’s face. She flashed an angry look in Midna’s direction. “What’re you doing!? Call that thing off immediately!” Looking at the young man with his pokeball, the woman jerked her head in the stray’s direction. “Hurry and catch the Meowstic before that monster bites it in half!”

Souta grit his teeth and held up his pokeball. A streak of red light shot out and hit the struggling Pokemon it beamed out of the wolfos’ jaws and into the container, which continued to shake slightly as the feline’s rage subsided.

Goldlewis shook Midna by the shoulder. “What are ya doin’? We don’t wanna stick our noses where they don’t belong. That thing was feral, anyway. Could o’ had rabies or somethin’.”

”Huh, what?” The princess replied, shaking her head in addition to the shoulder shaking which managed to clear the confusion a little bit. Certainly enough to retort ”Wasn’t this your idea in the first place?” while waving a hand in the direction of her wolfos to get it to calm down and stop struggling in the telekinetic grip.

Taken aback, Goldlewis could only shake his head emphatically. While he suggested taking a look, he’d never once considered the possibility of fighting the Psych-OSF over whatever the two of them might find.

The woman seemed even less pleased. “What do you mean, your idea?” she questioned, her tone full of suspicion.

Then Midna took a breath or two, and apologized ”Sorry about that, it did something to my mind, didn’t quite get what was going on” while rubbing one of her eyes in a futile attempt to deal with the throbbing in her skull the psychic damage had left her with. ”As for the idea, man thought he saw someone’s lost pet is all, and looks like he .. we were wrong about that”

“Hmm…” The animal control team leader thought for a moment, then decided that a brain blast sufficed as an explanation for this behavior and shrugged. “Yeah, they’ll do that. You should steer clear of any and all Pokemon, they’re dangerous.”

That got Goldlewis’ attention. “Dangerous?”

“Uh, yeah.” The one called Mifune crossed his arms. “You must be new here. They’re heavily regulated in Midgar for safety reasons, and psychic ones are banned. Unregulated Psynet access drives them berserk, and once they go feral they cause no end of trouble. Right, Hifumi?”

The woman nodded, frowning severely. “That’s where we come in. Psych-OSF’s Containment Division. If you see any more feral Pokemon, call our hotline immediately. That is all.” She gave Midna and Goldlewis a stiff nod.

Before she could leave, however, the veteran piped up with one other question. “Beggin’ your pardon, but just so we know what to look for, I don’t s’pose there’s any other psychic creatures around we oughta be aware of?”

“Other than Others, not in particular,” Hifumi told them.

Mifune, however, had another answer. “If you head down into Seiran for whatever reason, stay away from the lower levels. The reservoir is infested with Psifish. They’re weak ‘cause of how polluted it is, but give them half a chance and they can still pop your brains like firecrackers.” On that note, the three soldiers departed, the captured stray in hand.

”Well… that could have gone better. Poor creature” Minda said, still somewhat sympathetic despite the brain blast and just a bit upset about what she expected the containment division would do with the illegal feral pokemon ”Still, guess we have two options if we want to go monster hunting for psychic powers as a group … though it seems pretty risky either way” as neither running afoul of the law or these ‘psifish’ sounded like a good time

”Oh and we’re definitely gonna need to warn Bede about both the law and that Psynet issue before something goes wrong” she realized, before also noting that she was also going to have to worry about part of the first half: ”and I’m going to need to be careful about using the dragonfly-thing … which I really should learn what its called”

Unaware that Bede’s Pokemon were psychic-type, Goldlewis gave a noncommittal grunt. “I reckon we should head back to the gym, then. Guess this explains why there weren’t any of ‘em Pokey-things in there.” With the commotion dispersed, small as it had been to begin with, the two began to retrace their steps away from Kong King. “When we get back, I wanna use that terminal again. See if there’s any transport hotspots that might get us down to Seiran.” Stepping back out from the underground concourse into the sunlight, Goldlewis looked out across the city of Suoh. There was a reflective window nearby, so he pulled out a comb to fix his pompadour before heading on his way with Midna along for the ride.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Archmage MC
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Archmage MC

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Level 11 Blazermate (Holding 2 level up) - (59/110)
Level 4 Susie - (23/40) - (Holding 1 level up)

Location: Detroit Fight
Word Count: 1003


Susie, being in the middle of combat like Tora and Poppi managed to pull a bit of the fire from the others. Having landed as crazy as she did, the other Misconduct gang members targeted her if they didn't target Tora and Poppi. Having gotten the attention of the transformed G Men though, when one of the gang members went to try to attack Susie in her cockpit, the G men slashed him away, although he also attacked Susie's mech itself so it was a bit of a neutral interaction there. Still, as she was getting focused now, Susie held one of her hands up to block her cockpit as she hopped her mech around, firing the occasional drill if she got the chance.

Blazermate meanwhile was a bit sad that her engineer spirit got destroyed by dynamite, but he managed to take out a fair amount of people and it took the 'leader' of the group to do so. considering it was an explosive, that made sense in a weird way. At least Geralt had overheal if he got hit.

Overall during the fight Blazermate had managed to give Geralt and Giovanna an overheal during the battle, finding healing Tora and Poppi very difficult since they were in the middle of combat, grabbing as much attention as they could. This ended up being beneficial in the end, as a large tank commanded by someone who was part of the 'winds of destruction' came about, declaring his intentions to crush anyone who would be against freedom. A weird declaration, but the name he was part of reminded Blazermate of something.

"Hey, I'm going to go and try to get that guy on our side. Hes part of Despirado if I remember right. And you said we should know those people. Best to not have another enemy either way." Blazermate said to Geralt and those around her. Having gotten enough ubercharge for an uber on herself if necessary, Blazermate used Tora and Poppi's distraction, and to a lesser extent Susie's distraction, to fly over the battlefield and intercept Khamsin, grabbing a cleaning rag out of her belt pouches and waving it like a flag of surrender.

Upon approaching the man, Blazermate said. "Hey, your with Despirado right? Some of us are on your side!" She did have an uber ready to pop if he got aggressive, since that was one nasty looking mech, but hopefully Blazermate could get this man on their side instead.

As his giant mech stomped over, Khamsin spotted the medabot on her way to meet him before he could get busy immersing himself in the blood of the villainous Misconducts. "Huh?" Her aerial approach distinguished her from the enemies he'd been expecting from the distress call, and upon first glance the cyborg could see that she looked very much like either an android, an Unmanned Gear, or maybe a fusion of the two. Since both types of weaponized automata served in the ranks of DespoRHado, and her LED marked her as military-grade android, everything about her screamed 'ally', and the makeshift white flag she flew was just icing on the cake.

"Roger," he declared with a scornful look at the G-men. "Typical government dogs, cryin' far and wide for help the minute things get interesting." Khamsin registered Blazermate as an ally. The Misconducts opened fire, so the Wind of Destruction moved in to wreak havoc. "Tell your team to stay outta of my way. Things are about to get messy!"

Blazermate was relieved that the man was quickly able to recognize her as an ally and that she could get him on her side. She then thought of something and said. "Better yet, how about we help gather them up for you and stay out of your way so you can bulldoze them over? Some of us could make that really easy for ya! I'm a support bot so I'll keep ya in top condition if you get damaged while you go to town." Blazermate said affirming what she could do to their possible new ally. Blazermate did know Raiden didn't like these people, as they were apparently from their world, but considering how confused Roxas was when they told him the organization was very different from what he knew, Raiden could be totally wrong about these guys. Either way, they were a bit crazy from what this guy looked like, but not all that much... maybe? Either way, Blazermate pointed out her friends letting him know who was on his side.

A Misconduct shotgunner who'd gotten his leg broken by one of the machine girls' gravity blasts emptied shot after shot into Khamsin's cockpit, but its armored exterior soaked it all up. When the gun clicked empty, the terrified gang member hid behind one of the structure's supports. Khamsin took one more lumbering step forward, revved up his chainsaw axe, and with a single rocket-powered swing carved through both support and shotgunner alike. The entire structure shook from the impact, and Misconducts began to descend even further into panic, but by now Galeem's influence meant they could not run away.

"Hmph," Khamsin grunted. "Sounds like this'll be over before I even get to enjoy myself. Run whatever support you got, but don't blame me if you get caught in the crossfire!"

Blazermate, getting her affirmation gave the man a bit of healing before leaving. Calling out to her friends, saying. "This guy is ready to help us out! Just stay out of his way guys. He says this is routine for him!" Blazermate then flew over the field informing the other seekers that the Winds of Destruction guy was on their side, but even he admits that his mech is prone to friendly fire if they got close. Susie, having been covering her cockpit with her mech fists understood this and made her way out of the middle of the fray, using her mech's durability to let her wander out of the middle of combat.

-------------------------------------------------------------



Level 9 Sectonia (holding 3 level up) - (65/90)
Location: Necropolis > Mom Fight
Word Count: less than 750


Sectonia and the others were able to keep up with the waves of minions more or less, Sectonia's chaos causing spells hitting the occasional minion that she wasn't even targeting often helping out her allies in the process as she herself managed to take out a few herself as well. However Mom managed to get a few hits on her allies, most notably Ganondorf who had taken a stomp from mom and a few other allies getting clipped by her massive disgusting feet.

Sectonia was surprised at how idle Ganondorf had been this whole fight for the length that he was, considering the amount of bluster he had been putting out about being such powerful being. This was eventually rectified as he finally did what he was trying to do, transforming into some large pig monster and started to rampage about, going after Mom when the opportunity presented itself. However due to how he seemed to care little about what was around him, many of Sectonia's antillions were taken down by his dark laser, poofing into a cloud of stars.

A bit worried for her minions as Ganon rampaged about, Sectonia swapped her Chaos Shield to whoever was in his way and decided that it was best that she swap from attacking the minions to getting Mom over and done with and possibly deal with whatever Ganondorf was doing. Getting well out of the way of his rampage, Sectonia began to charge her Special rend as the next wave of minions came in. Seeing as Sectonia could only lazily drift as she charged this ability, the priests that spawned next ot her began to attack her. Their moves didn't do much of anything in terms of damage to her, but... something... was welling up inside her as they hit her? Its like she was thinking that her minions could do way better than they were doing and that this fight should've been over sooner than it was.

Having taken so many stress hits, this eventually boiled over as Sectonia let loose her Spacial shatter as Mom attempted to attack one of her allies. The space in that area shattering like glass as a vortex of pure darkness hit the area before leaving a white void behind that slowly regained its color and doing damage to Mom and not her allies. this stress boil over gave Sectonia the Abusive break however as those stress hits finally got to her. This came with her saying. "You are all stronger than this. Finish this atrocious fight!" sounding like an angry disappointed mother in tone. She herself not just saying disappointment as she took out her frustration at the nearby cultist, rapidly stabbing it with her swords.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

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Word Count: 1448 (+3 exp)
Level: 9 - Total EXP: 171/90
Location: Edinburgh MagicaPolis

ft. @Majoras End@Lugubrious

The Ace Cadet couldn't say he got much out of Wicke's answer other than trivia, but he nodded at the woman all the same. She gave them their checks (which turned out to be small paper rectangles, basically "IOU"s the Cadet figured) and swept out of the cafe after that, leaving the small group to themselves. Naturally, talk turned to their plans for the immediate future. The Cadet had no qualms about visiting the Aether Foundation, and he had no real suggestions about how to go about the skeletons either besides what Band already mentioned. Before they got much further, Frisk brought something vital to their attention.

The information that Frisk gave them about the Consul was important, but there was something else she said that only the Ace Cadet could pick up on. A name, one that must have belonged to the friend Frisk has mentioned that disappeared. The one that was struggling, that was connected to the Skullgirl. 

Linkle. 

The monster hunter was stunned into silence as the dinner conversation from days ago suddenly came back to his mind. Nadia and Bowser had told him the story of Linkle's disappearance in the Deadzone and her encounter with some kind of cursed skull heart, and Band had already deduced that the reason for the reanimated bones may be the Skullgirl. Though he'd never expected to find any clues to her whereabouts quite like this, why hadn't he put two and two together before? 

"Frisk!" The Cadet exclaimed, leaning over the table toward her with wide, hopeful eyes. "You said Linkle? That was your friend's name? Was she about this tall, with two sets of ears, and uses crossbows?" He quickly mimed with his hands as he spoke, his best estimate of the Linkle he remembered. "Was it her?"

Frisk's eyes widened in turn. "Rabbit ears, uses ice magic?" She asked back.

The Cadet nodded, electric with excitement. 

"Yes? Yes! That's gotta be her! That's..." he leaned back in his chair, pressing one hand to his face as he laughed with relief. "Radalos. Man, it's good to hear that she's alive."

After he sat straighter in his seat again, the Cadet figured he should explain how he knew Frisk and the Prisoner's friend, especially since Wonder Red and Big Band had joined the Seekers' campaign after Linkle had been gone. "Linkle was- she's one of us! She disappeared a while ago, taken by one of those black coats. We had no idea where she went or how to find her.

"But now we know she's around here, somewhere. Thank you."
It was more information than the Seekers had previously. The Cadet flashed Frisk a grateful smile, though it was dimmer than his usual smiles. Linkle was alive, but she was in trouble, afflicted with some really terrible curse. 

"Earlier you said she left before she could hurt you. She's a real hero, not the kind of person that would do that. How... I mean how bad was that curse when you last saw her?"

"I don't exactly know the specifics, but she was idly raising the dead when we finally made it back on land. I was hoping to find some way to help her before whatever it was got any worse..." The woman solemnly sighed. "Perhaps it was becoming to much to bear?" She frowned.

That pretty much confirmed for the Cadet that Linkle was still in the area. 

"We'll find her, and we'll help her," he promised. The desire to help his friend was stronger than that unpleasant feeling that crawled through his skin when he thought about getting close to whatever evil magic was going on with her. "There's no way I'm gonna let her deal with it alone."

Band kept quiet throughout the exchange, although the expression on his face was one of such severity that the others might have been shocked to see it. His own interpretation of what was happening at night in Edinburgh had been one born of pessimism and conjecture, but this new testimony all but sealed the deal. That made things simple, in a way, but it also complicated matters. As a member of USG, Band had a new priority number-one: his mission was crystal clear. He considered asking his new acquaintances for more details on what could only be a Skullgirl, but therein lay the rub. These people, who hadn't lived through the horrors of untold death and destruction at the hands of the Skullgirls, might not help him if they knew what he needed to do. Worst case scenario, they might turn on them. If this city, and maybe the world itself, were to be spared, they would have to see for themselves--that the Skullgirl wasn't their friend anymore, but a ticking time bomb until the end of days. And if she was already ambiently raising the dead, they didn't have much time at all.


The group moved on from the bakery quickly after that, in varying emotional states. Hoping to escape the eyes of the corrupt law, they were headed for a library. A bank was the only stop they made along the way, and the Cadet handed his check over to one of the others to cash for him while he waited outside. There were two reasons for it, firstly because he did not want to see if there was any magic involved in getting the funds, and secondly to call for a Moogle.

He restrained his report to simple facts, though it was hard to when he so wanted to relay to the others that they may be close to getting Linkle back. Once finished he and the Moogle saluted each other and the little messenger disappeared to bring the new information to Alcamoth's database. If any of the other Seekers out there checked in, there would be two simplified pieces of news passed on: more Consul activity, 'Consul L,' and 'Found a lead to Linkle's whereabouts.'

With business at the bank finished, they hastily continued on. The Noumenon came into view from a while away, but it wasn't obvious that was where they were headed until they were right outside of the massive structure. It was hard to imagine that was a library! It was so grandiose. The inside was even more so with intricate marble tile, elegant chandeliers, and rows upon rows upon rows of books. "Oh wow," he said to himself as he admired the place. When Red mentioned making a note of the place, he agreed. "Yeah, definitely."

The Cadet craned his neck up, hardly able to see the ceiling through the upper floors it was so tall. What kind of knowledge was kept here? It seemed like way too much to just be the history of one place, even with fictional novels factored in. I'm gonna borrow some on the way out, he decided. There was plenty of space left in his pack.

The Noumenon's rules were what one would expect of a library, that was something universal it seemed. As for the bookworms, the Cadet had no clue how they were supposed to tell the good ones from the bad ones, so figured it best to just avoid them entirely - save for the one giving them the advice.

Once they had their destination, the Cadet fixed the group with a grin.

"Looks like we're in for a couple stories," he said. Though when he noticed the heavy set on some of their shoulders, his smile turned sheepish. "You don't all have to take the stairs on my account. I don't mind booking it and meeting you up there."

Wonder Red made a suggestion, his intention becoming clear when he raised his arm. That thing again! If Red was alright with using it for a situation like this, then the Ace Cadet wouldn't argue. It was a nice gesture. Now that he knew what was about to happen, being encased in light was both more and less weird than it had been the first time. Hard to explain, really. Wonder Red then took to the stairs, climbing them with hardly even a break until he was on the twenty sixth floor.

Once out of the morph, the Cadet chuckled and patted Red on the back as the shorter man hunched over. "Thanks buddy."

Given that Frisk and Prisoner were the ones who knew what Albedo looked like, it was up to them to take the lead in looking for him. It was a large area, even though it was just one floor of many. Of hundreds, even. As they walked the Cadet stuck close to the shelves so he could read some of the book spines, curiosity overtaking him.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Zoey Boey
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Zoey Boey too good!

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Level 7: 28/70
Word Count: short
Location: The Under
Points Gained: 1
NEW EXP balance--- Level 7: 29/70




Jesse, Nadia, and Therion all teamed up to destroy a particularly grotesque monster. Jesse would have done some cool gunplay tricks if she had the time or was any good at them. “Badass. Keep it up!”

Jesse kept firing around the place, but flinched when Ganon got stomped. “Damn!” Fortunately, he was a big guy, and seemed more pissed than hurt.

That might actually end up working out for us to be honest- oh, yep, there he goes. At that point, he transformed into a mighty beast of a warrior. Jesse was keen to stay out of his way and let him go wild on the giant leg that came down from the ceiling.

She blew away another cultists with Shatter and Evaded as Mom stomped near her, and, almost as dangerous, Ganon’s powerful onslaught trailing her wherever she went. Jesse sensed that this battle would be over soon, and she assumed that on some level Ganondorf was in control, even if he was a bit of a rage monster at the moment.

Jesse ended up on the fringes with Therion, since the rogue had gotten a little unlucky. She wasn’t directly protecting him but she was trying to create a sphere of influence where she could.

Sectonia disagreed about Jesse’s internal optimistic outlook. So that was two pissed off giants in the room, in a way.

“I think we're just about done, if the amount of leg meat on the ground is anything to go by.” Jesse said to hopefully assaude Sectonia’s frustration, unleashing a series of shots towards one of the bigger, grosser cultist monsters until it went down. She ripped a chunk of stone from the Earth and splattered another couple monsters.

Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Ghost who chose life

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Suoh

Sector 3 Upper
Level 2 Goldlewis (20/20)
Goldlewis, Peach, Raz’s @Truthhurts22, Roxas’ @Double, Sakura and Karin’s @Zoey Boey, Midna’s @DracoLunaris, Pit’s @Yankee
Word Count: 2591


Rather than walk all the way back through the city, Goldlewis returned to his nearby hummer and drove back to Anistar with Midna riding shotgun, arriving at the gym a tiny bit older and not a whole lot wiser than they were when they left. In their absence the others had been exploring and making use of the gym itself, either conventionally or as a source of information. Apparently Sakura got herself into a sparring match with a senior Psych-OSF member of the premises, and while it seemed to go well at first, it ended on a surprise sour note as the street fighter’s trauma from the depths of the nightmarish Maw returned to haunt her. At that point she went from ‘working out’ to ‘working out her mental issues’ with the help of Raz, who unveiled a special ability he’d been sitting on for a while now to literally dive into and get straight to the heart of the matter.

In the meantime, Peach and Pit had been exploring the lower levels of the gym. Down there they found nothing too unusual, just more civilians and off-duty Scarlet Guardians training themselves through a variety of means. One of the more interesting methods they spotted was one telekinesis-user doing his best to hold up a number of padded blocks in the air, while two sisters engaged in a psychic shootout on the suspended battlefield. There were more normal classes on offer as well, including a ‘Boxercise’ routine run by one Disco Kid. With the tagline ‘punch with the best of them!’ it offered a workout that required no psychic ability. In the spirit of fitting in Peach decided to give it a try, though her choice of office clothes rather than gym wear got her a couple funny looks. Disco Kid was all about it, though, and with his winning smile plus can-do attitude he got the whole class grooving in a high-energy dance of jabs, hooks, and uppercuts. Her love of sports still intact, Peach had a great time, and afterward she got in a quick word with Disco himself. Once she explained her goal of training in order to volunteer for Psych-OSF, Disco supplied her with the requirements for joining. It was less stringent than she thought; applicants didn’t even need to have a home. As long as any would-be cadets possessed sufficient medical, moral, and physical fitness, basic education, 10-30 years of age, and psychic sensitivity, it sounded like just about anyone could join up. The princess thanked her boxercise instructor and returned to the group.

After a brief meeting during which Goldlewis and Midna shared what little they’d learned about the politics and pest control of Suoh, everyone went their separate ways again, resolved to meet back at Musubi’s by no later than six forty-five in the evening. Midna went to find Bede to warn him about the eventual fate of any and all psychic Pokemon in Midgar, but with no sign of the young man her search quickly turned into a wild goose chase through the streets of Suoh. Goldlewis, meanwhile, uncovered a promising lead via the public Psynet terminal in Anistar Gym. As it turned out, a relatively easy and official way to descend beneath the Sector 5 Plate to Seiran did exist: a public freight elevator not too far from the center of the sparkling red metropolis. Planning to see it with his own eyes, and use it if possible, he extended an invitation to any of the Seekers who might want to join him. Then he and whoever accepted loaded back up into his hummer, the veteran’s giant coffin tucked securely into the trunk, and they took to the city streets once more.

Thanks to the miracle of motorized transport, the hummer came to rest in the public parking lot of a grand structure called the Praetorium. Practically a fortress in terms of appearance, this was the transport hub that housed the freight elevator Goldlewis sought, and it positively bustled with activity. Even finding a parking spot was pretty difficult, especially given his ride’s sheer, audacious size, and things only got livelier from there. Coffin slung over his shoulder, he joined the steady stream of people headed inside the building, careful to observe everything he could about the place. From what he could tell, this facility handled both human traffic and cargo shipments between Suoh and Seiran, sending goods between plate and undercity in massive quantities. He could not see the timetables projected as Visions around the building, but they revealed an ironclad schedule: ten minutes to load and unload at one terminus, then ten minutes of travel between them, rinse and repeat over and over again like clockwork. In other words, the second the elevator got sealed and began its trip, it would be thirty minutes on the dot before it returned. The lift happened to be gone when Goldlewis arrived, so he joined the line to wait for the next one, ignorant of how long it might be thanks to his inability to see the psychic displays. Just under ten minutes later though, the elevator arrived, and the great exchange began.

The platform itself was pretty huge at hundreds of feet in diameter. Once it came to a stop and the gates opened, passengers flooded off it, and large machines went to work unloading the freight from Seiran in order to stack high the containers from Suoh in their place. It reminded Goldlewis of a cargo ship bay and a subway blended into one. As he boarded, his eyes on the giant cranes, he briefly wondered why a psychic city would rely on technology instead of, say, telekinesis to move such loads around. Then again, using mechanical precision cut out the possibility of human error, and maybe they needed to conserve their psionics’ abilities for combat, anyway. Once the passengers loaded up, either standing, using benches that rose up from the elevator’s surface, or just sitting on the floor, the elevator began its diagonal trek through the plate itself via a huge inclined tunnel, rolling on immense metal wheels.

When he arrived in Seiran, Goldlewis quickly learned just how stark the differences between it and Suoh were. While the Plate resembled an ordinary metropolis, at least for the most part, the undercity featured a much more unusual layout. It was composed entirely of skyscrapers of various heights, rising hundreds of stories into the air like a primeval forest, interconnected by countless bridges, cables, and metal rails–a real concrete jungle. Many of the skyscrapers, but not all, extended all the way up to the plate. One such building housed the bottom end of the Praetorium elevator, and after disembarking Goldlewis made his way to the nearest edge. After looking down and managing to not lose his lunch, he could see that there was no ‘ground level’ to this city. Instead the skyscrapers rose straight from the reservoir itself. The water didn’t look inviting in the least, with vast, scummy algal blooms turning the water green and even red, as well as embankments of trash instead of sand around the bases of the buildings. Blue and pink bioluminescence could be glimpsed even from this height, calling to mind the Psifish that one member of Psych-OSF’s Containment Division mentioned, but those pulsing lights were weak and febrile. Goldlewis did not envy anything living in that water, if ‘living’ it could even be termed.

The veteran snooped around Seiran for a couple hours, on the hunt for anything that might be useful for the Seekers. Though the glittering lights and stainless steel of Suoh weren’t so far away considering the freight elevator, the property values plummeted here, dropping lower and lower the farther down one went on the skyscrapers. Even getting around was tricky, with a variety of ingenious (or slapdash) methods to navigate the towers in evidence. While the higher areas featured an almost maritime charm to them, the lower areas tended more toward degradation and squalor, undesirable even for the city’s poor. Nothing wholesome could be fished from those waters, after all. Only the most abject wretches, laid low by illness or other malady, dwelled in the shanties near the water. Goldlewis heard that the denizens down there weren’t even people, for the most part; rumors spoke instead of fishmen and other demihuman monstrosities. He stuck to the upper levels, with their seafood markets supplied by high-level indoor aquaculture, ignorant of the Visions of aquatic creatures that swam through the air in an almost pitiable attempt to preserve the original atmosphere of what had once been a genuine seaside city.

After some searching, Goldlewis finally found it: a former clinic not too far from the freight elevator, for sale at a pretty cheap price. At some point after its initial dereliction, it had been occupied by a detachment of shady individuals purported to be operatives of some tech gang or another, but recently it had been discovered that they abandoned the place once more, so it was back on the market. Lingering fear of the gang members returning drove away potential buyers, though, which explained the cheap price. When Goldlewis arrived the demihuman landlord gave him a tour in person. The clinic turned out to be a strange blend of futuristic and medieval, with one half tinted yellow by the light that streamed through its glass windows onto wooden furniture and metal cookware, while the other was a jumble of discarded tech awash in electric blue light.

“Well?” Moneybags asked, reaching out his paw. “Not my most splendid property, I’ll admit, but it’s functional, pest-free, conveniently located, off the grid, and yours for a very modest price. What do you say?”




Goldlewis put his hummer in park, removed the key, and rolled down his window. The Seekers gathered around his vehicle. Aside from Bede, who the veteran hoped Midna managed to find and warn, everyone seemed to be here, and right on time. After an afternoon spent galavanting around Suoh, and in some cases Seiran too, the Seekers had reunited right back where they started: in the parking lot of Musubi’s. The shadows had grown long, and the sky tinted orange as the sun was beginning to set over the Suoh skyline. Seven o’ clock was right around the corner, but before the team went to dinner, Goldlewis had something to say. “Pile in for a spell,” he told the group, reaching his arm out of the window to pat the exterior of his car door. “I want a quick word before we head in.”

Once everyone got in, he put his window up again, and turned in his seat to address the group. “Sorry it ain’t exactly comfortable in here, but I appreciate y’all for hearin’ me out,” he told them, though for anyone less than seven feet tall and five hundred sixty-six pounds his hulking hummer’s interior was actually pretty roomy. “In here’s the only place we’re really safe from them listenin’ cameras. Now, this won’t be a minute, but I figured I’d sum up real quick before we get started. The little fella we’re meetin’ is Luka Travers. Regardless of anyone’s misgivin’s, we don’t wanna antagonize him, so play. It. Cool. He also ain’t as young as he looks, so don’t treat him like a kid. He’s the little brother of Septentrion First Class Ka-ren Travers, who just might be the biggest fish in the whole doggone OSF. We’re tryin’ to do two things.” He held up one finger. “One. We wanna learn more about Psych-OSF. Relations between the big players, current events, anythin’ we can without pryin’ too hard. Don’t grill the li’l guy or nothin’, just bring it up in conversation, all casual-like.”

He held up a second finger. “Two. We wanna get a couple o’ ours into the OSF. We can lean on Raz and his connections, hopefully get y’all fast-tracked through basic and into the fold. Luka can teleport, so maybe we could convince him to take ya along with him back to base to get started. Havin’ him along to vouch for ya’s gotta be worth somethin’, too.” He furrowed his brow. “That means it’s time…”

“Time for us to fuse,” Peach finished, nodding. “Me and whoever else wanted to volunteer. Was it you who did, Sakura?” She glanced at the street fighter.

Goldlewis pursed his lips. “I know it might seem…odd, but doin’ it right here might be your best bet. I got tinted windows that’ll block out the light some, and y’all used a bathroom or something anywhere else, chances are there’d be a camera watchin’ ya go in and out.”

“Okay,” the princess replied, determination in her voice. “Let’s do it.” After rummaging around in her pockets, she produced the two OSF spirits. She passed the other one to the other volunteer, then held hers in front of her heart. Closing her eyes, she steeled herself with a deep breath, then shoved the spirit into her chest.



When the light died down, Peach sat in her seat, a changed woman. Considering how she looked before as a result of her fusions with Mr. Grimm and Chao Ho, she looked rather more normal now, but only the faintest trace of the original princess remained in her features. She checked herself in the passenger-side mirror, running a hand along her cheek. While she couldn’t say she looked bad or anything, she didn’t even recognize herself. And yet the effect of fusion dampened any dysmorphia she might be experiencing, so she couldn’t even say this felt wrong. The person staring back at her from the mirror wasn’t Princess Peach. But it was her. She inhaled through her nose, breathed out her mouth, and smiled.

Goldlewis had been watching her intently, intrigued by the whole process. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Peach replied, a little surprised by the sound of her own voice. It was higher than before, almost cute. “I feel pretty good, in fact! It’s almost like…a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

“Good, ‘cause I think Luka just appeared right in front of the restaurant,” Goldlewis said, pointing through the windshield. “Let’s get movin’.”



The Seekers piled out of the car and into Musubi’s. On the way Peach nearly stumbled and fell, overwhelmed by the change of scenery. All of a sudden, Suoh had come alive with the light and motion of a million Visions, aglow and alive with psychic energy. Goldlewis, who had gone ahead to hold the door open for everyone else, didn’t reach her in time, so one of her other allies helped her along instead. The team managed to make it in one piece to the table where Luka Travers had seated himself, just as the waitress finished setting it for nine.

“Good evening,” the boy said, smiling. “It’s good to see you again, and in better circumstances.” He shook the hands of Goldlewis and anyone else who wanted, pausing only a brief moment as he tilted his head at Peach. Then he unzipped his bag and pulled out a handful of eight papers sealed in plastic. “Here,” he said, passing them around. They were paper menus, with all sorts of rice, ramen, and sushi dishes listed out on them. “I only realized after we made plans that Musubi’s uses Vision menus, so on the off-chance that they might come in handy I procured these.” He smiled again and clasped his hands together. “This is the ‘Place Where People Meet’, after all. You can never be too sure who you’ll find.”



The Ruins - Dripstone Cave

Koopa Troop’s @DracoLunaris, Primrose’s @Yankee, Rubick’s @Scarifar, Teemo’s @Bugman


Some quick thinking and teamwork allowed the Koopa Troop to cash in on the opportunity presented by the fleeing Huuli Hoarder. Once sedated and retrieved, it could be finished off with ease to render up a whole bunch of minerals, including nuggets of deep green Jadiz, mustard-yellow Bismor, and best of all, gold.

Junior then opted to take the initiative with a small pack of Migospel lurking nearby. The garishly-patterned bugs took note when he yelled out, drawing their attention to the entrance of the cave where the young prince and his friends were still getting their bearings. Such a large group of newcomers gave them pause, but once they realized that Junior might be a kindred spirit in terms of clowning around, they tentatively drew nearer. All of them made sure to use their best silly walks, or at least most of them did. One of the bunch lagged behind a little, its manner languid and bleary as if dispirited, sick, or perhaps just very tired. Junior would need to meet the bunch halfway, but when he did so he found the overlarge insects decently amicable. However, their comprehension of his questions left a lot to be desired.

“Send in the clowns!” one squealed, beginning to mime.

Another one honked its nose insistently, adding some extra sound effects to the mix. “Honk! Hooonk!”

“I love to laugh!” Another declared, juggling balls of ants. “Ha ha hee hee ho ho huu huu!”

The only one who didn’t join in the tomfoolery was the laggard one Junior spotted before. Its giggles were tremulous, and its attempts to juggle fell flat. It was as if the poor Migospel was half asleep. If Junior looked more closely, however, he would see something odd. Its eyes weren’t white like the others, but seemingly hollow, and within them shone a faint but unmistakable orange glow that flickered like firelight.

Meanwhile, Primrose retraced her steps a short ways. Mindful of both getting lost and marking a path for any allies to follow should they happen to come this way, she set about using a weapon gleaned from the fracas back in the Convent of Our Lady of the Charred Visage to create an inscription in the stone. Doing so brought her close to the spot where the tunnel branched between the Dripstone Cave and the alternative, more cluttered route. When she turned to rejoin her friends, she caught a glimpse of something in the corner of her eye, a shadowy figure moving through the soft purplish light down the other path. Mists far less ominous than those of the Webwood clung and curled gently around the outcroppings of stone and discarded masks in that direction, and through them the dancer could see a lone figure whose oil-black body seemed to be adorned with a necklace of skulls and a helmet curled like a snail's shell. For a moment the stranger just stared back at her, making no attempt to hide himself, his shining white eyes curious. Then he waved as if to say hello in a manner very suggestive of sentience, and turned to tread a little deeper into the Ancestral Mound.

Naturally, Bowser and Kamek took some time to look around themselves. While most of the area seemed nice enough, dripstone caves like this owed their unique formations to calcium salts deposited by dripping water, and all the water found in this place turned out to be abominably stagnant. About a fourth of the cavern was occupied by a pool of extremely green, viscous liquid, pungent and foul. No Goams could be found in their vicinity; for all their invincibility they avoided that execrable liquid like the plague. The lily pads and reeds that grew in and around it were tough and brown, and around the poisonous pools lurked giant mosquitoes, a lot less mobile but a lot more dangerous than their minuscule counterparts.

The Koopas might have been content to leave the enormous pests to their rot if not for a certain discovery they made not too far from the muck. From his vantage point in the air the wizard happened to spot a diminutive creature nestled in the brush. He was a fuzzy little guy, with cream-colored fur and a head as big or bigger than his body, decked out the green pith helmet, gloves, and boots that befitted an explorer. At the moment the Yordle seemed to be completely unconscious, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. Next to him lay a piece of half-eaten shelf mushroom of the variety known as Naiti-Nait, overconsumption of which had knocked the unlucky lad right out. Anywhere else he might have been able to recover on his own given time, but In the vicinity of the squalid swamp, time was a luxury he didn’t have. The mosquitoes were already homing in on his position, all too eager to pierce the tiny, adorable explorer with their swordlike proboscises and drain him of his precious fluids.

The Under - Mom’s Chamber

Level 10 Nadia (95/100)
Therion’s @Yankee, Sectonia’s @Archmage MC, Jesse’s @Zoey Boey, Omori’s @Majoras End, Ganondorf’s @Double
Word Count: 2273


The arrival of the Templar Impaler presented a fresh and ferocious new threat for the Seekers to contend with as they vied to finish Mom off, but to say that Ganondorf rose to the occasion would be an understatement. Spurred on by his pride and anger, he called upon his dark sorcery to transfigure himself into a towering boarlike monster, less eldritch and yet more fearsome than the cultists arrayed before him. As Nadia looked on, suddenly in no hurry to get any closer to the fight than she absolutely needed to, the slavering beast let out a hideous bellow and charged into the fray.

With greatswords bigger than most men he went after the gouty pillar of flesh wherever it descended, hacking into it with reckless, hateful abandon. The cultists that remained following Therion’s deft execution of the priest took aim at the monstrous new threat, gouging his body and mind alike with deadly spurs of bone and madness, but Ganon’s rage would not be sated until the amorphous mass responsible for his injuries lay dead at his feet. Omori and the Knight had been going after Mom previously, but after the already-wounded boy mistimed a dodge and ate another stomp, the Knight was forced to carry him out of danger, which left the way wide open for Ganon. Everyone else could more or less sit back and watch as their terrifying ally sundered chunk after chunk from Mom’s leg, especially after a friendly fire incident involving Junicorn when Therion went to head off the Impaler, which naturally carried over to the thief himself. Soon, the butchery took its toll, and Mom was on her last legs.

That said, ignoring the cultists -or just blindly going to town on them, for that matter- wasn’t without its consequences. The Rapturous Cultists that spawned managed to heal Mom twice before Spacial Rend demolished it. Both Ganon and Sectonia suffered from heightened stress, and though the former managed to stave off further insanity through the landing of critical hits, the mind of the latter went past its boiling point. The madness within bubbled over, rendering Sectonia Abusive not long after she unleashed her withering rupture in space-time. That said, her first shout sounded more like encouragement to derision as far as Nadia was concerned–not that Ganon needed it. After blasting away the Impaler with his laser one final time, the beast took aim at the bone he’d exposed in the leg with his continuous slices, and with a tremendous final slash severed the leg.

”ISAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAC!” the horror wailed as the room began to crack around the Seekers, blood pouring from the walls and ceiling to pool on the floor. The last cultist standing, the horrific Templar Impaler, thrashed and died along with its creator, soon reduced to nothing more than a ashen smear and Notable Spirit on the floor. After another moment the rumbling came to a stop, and in the brief silence that followed three things happened at once. First, a reward appeared on a pedestal, taking the form of a bright red high-heeled shoe just like the one that had been smashing the Seekers moments ago, albeit of normal shoe size. Second, a hole opened up in the center of the floor, and unlike the trapdoors in previous boss rooms, this one was circular, shiny, and flesh-colored, which pleased Nadia very, very little. Third, two doors opened on the far wall at the exact same time, emerging from crumbling rubble: a black door adorned by a goat head, and a white door crowned by a radiant cross. Within the first was the unsettling pitch-black visage of a devil, and within the second stood the image of an eerie, faceless angel, but both offered the same reward: a strange trophy with a capsule of prismatic light obscuring a shadowy figure within.

As Ganondorf turned back to normal, Nadia let out her pent-up breath. “Whoa,” she breathed. “That…really sucked!” The feral switched off her Night Light, then crossed her arms, shaking her head. “I mean, that boss was really one-note! Her minions were way more dangerous, not to mention scary. What kind of big bad relies on goons to fight for ‘em, anyway? More like min-yawn, jeez.” She jogged over to where the Knight had laid Omori, skirting around the high-heeled shoe in case her tail accidentally brushed it as she passed by. “Man, you got it rough, kid,” she said, crouching over him. “You sure you’re up for this? Here, lemme help. Uh, freakshow, heal him!”

Her new striker appeared and used Flesh to Flesh, repairing Omori’s wounds through unholy rite. Nadia’s own scratches, bruises, and scrapes were buffing out as well thanks to her regeneration. As the striker disappeared she treated him to a cheery smile, patting him on the head. “There! Good as mew, right?”

Nadia’s gaze then landed on the Knight. “Thanks for looking out for him, little guy! You really know your stuff when it comes to fightin’!” She sent her two brain cells into overdrive trying to think of a suitably bug-related pun, but whether due to the lingering stress from the fight or the fatigue she’d built up from fighting so far, the poor feral couldn’t think of a darned thing. Rats. I’ll get ‘em to laugh next time. If anyone else needed healing it would be another minute or two before she could use the Cultist again, at least by her estimation, but Ganondorf probably didn’t need her help anyway.

The feral stood, stretching out her limbs, and went to regroup with the others. Naturally everyone noticed the appearance of both devil and angel rooms, as well as the fact that their offerings not only seemed to lack any sort of price, but also didn’t fit this place’s blood-and-guts aesthetic at all. “Probably something different,” Nadia mentioned, pulling out the Bait Launcher both to show it off and reload it. “Like this thing. Didn’t embed itself in my skin or anythin’, just a normal gun. Other than, y’know, the fact it summons tigers. I sure ain’t hidin’ my stripes anymore after seein’ that!”

While the others decided what to do with the assist trophies and boss reward, which Nadia dismissed outright based on the hypothesis that it would mutate her feet into living heels, the feral pulled out and consulted her map. Despite her own injuries and nearly getting torn in half twice over, her hoodie and its contents seemed to be in pretty good condition. Still, that jacket would need some serious laundering. After a quick look at the map, her perked-up ears fell flat again, and her doleful eyes fell on the oversized orifice in the floor.

With a sigh she rolled up and stuffed the sheet of parchment into her pocket. “Guys? Accordin’ to the map, there’s one more floor. Much as it pains me to say, we probably ain’t done just yet.”

As much as she would have liked to take it easy, it looked like Nadia needed to steel herself for one last run before the Seekers could escape this damnable place. She spotted her anchors and went to collect them. Even if their chains had been severed and she could no longer swing them from a distance, they could still be of use. In fact, it might be better like this. Up close and personal was just how Nadia fought; it just didn’t make sense to try and be something she wasn’t. Of course, the Bait Launcher was a different matter. It more or less amounted to calling an assist, and useful assists like that made her style of non-stop close-quarters pressure even more unstoppable.

In the end, there wasn’t a whole lot to do aside from heal up, loosen up, and tune up any faulty equipment. The Seekers then gathered in a ring around the hole in the ground, their misgivings written plain on their faces. With all eyes on her to take the plunge again, Nadia took a deep breath. “Alright. I’ll be countin’ on you guys to bail meowt, ya hear? And if this leads straight into a giant stomach or somethin’, well, I’ll at least die knowin’ I was the best cat food that ever lived.” She flipped her anchors into a reverse grip, saluted with two fingers, and jumped. “Cannonbaaaaall!”

On the way down, she drifted toward the chute’s wall and jammed both anchors into the slick pink flesh. They slid right in, catching enough to slow Nadia’s descent, just as she planned, although even with both embedded almost to the hilt her weight was enough to continue dragging her downward at a brisk pace. The pit seemed to grow wider the farther she went down, not to mention darker and more humid, but a glance down confirmed a source of light. After another few seconds she dug her toeclaws into the meaty surface to bring herself fully to a stop right at the bottom of the chute, where it seemingly opened up into a big, bright cavern, at least twice as large as the decrepit chamber where her crew slaughtered Mom. Beneath her was a solid purplish floor of appreciable size, and she could see a couple things that looked like items. “I’m okay! I think it’s safe!” Nadia shouted up the tube, her voice echoing up to the others. She swiveled her head back around to glance down at the chamber. “There’s a little fall, so be careful. And get ready for a fight!”



Nadia dropped down the rest of the way, slowing her descent with jets of blood just enough to land with her typical catlike agility. The chute lay a good hundred feet above her, but she figured if she could climb up if need be, although she didn’t relish the thought, or anything else in this place for that matter. This new room seemed to be rather hideously organic, with moist, spongy flesh the color of gums stretching like meaty tree trunks through the air and along the walls, everything irregular and glistening. That wasn’t the worst of it, though. “Ugh, its soft!” she whined, hopping from one bare foot to the other on the surface of the big, roughly diamond-shaped floor. “And WARM! Yuck!” Nadia was quickly beginning to regret her decision. Goosebumps formed all across for skin, and the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. All of a sudden, it felt kind of like she was in something’s stomach after all. Like she’d been eaten. In the distance she could hear the low, deep, repetitive sound of a gargantuan heartbeat. “Can we just murder the ever-lovin’ fuck outta some big monster already and get the hell outta here?”

On the four corners of the raised area were four more items, seemingly there for the taking. Free Lemonade, a pitcher of lemonade with no strings attached that could either be drunk or scattered around to damage enemies, which could be stashed when not in use and after four minutes would refill itself. Leo, which would increase the taker’s size by thirty percent and give them stomps strong enough to shatter stone, along with a luxurious mane of wild hair. Ghost Pepper, which after bringing the eater to tears from the spiciness would give the power of fire breath. Ceremonial Robes, which when worn would increase the wearer’s damage and confer instant retaliatory damage for the next three hits taken.

“Hey, is that lemonade?” Nadia jogged over, trying to forget about the squidgy floor. She stooped over the pitcher, sniffing it. “I’m pretty sure it is! Real question is, what horrible thing is it gonna do to me…” A brilliant idea struck her. She created a copycat which, not being a striker, wouldn’t transfer any damage or other effects to her, and bade her doppelganger take the lemonade in her place. The clone seized the pitcher by the handler. Nothing happened. She poured some out on her head, and still nothing happened. Tentatively, the copycat passed it to the original, and still nothing unusual transpired. After absorbing the copycat, Nadia drank some, and found it pleasantly sweet and tangy. “Huh. Purr-etty sure it’s literally just lemonade. Guess I was just bein’ a sourpuss, eh?”

Only once all four items were taken did the boss rush begin. Seven bosses emerged, one for each of the challengers: Blastocyst, Scolex, the Bloat, Mr. Fred, Triachnid, Lokii, and Teratoma. It was up to the Seekers to pick their targets and get to work.

“Holy shit!” Nadia practically screeched, her impulses getting the better of her again. As Scolex erupted from the flesh wall and leaped for her, Nadia barely dodged in time, then hurled the pitcher of lemonade at the monstrous worm. To her surprise the liquid seemed to burn it, eliciting a bloodcurdling squeal as it dug back into the meat. “...Okay, I see its game. I’ll handle the scare-asite!”

Edinburgh MagicaPolis - Noumenon

Level 8 Big Band (43/80)
Ace Cadet’s @Yankee, Frisk’s @Majoras End, Red’s @TruthHurts22
Word Count: 1077


On the way up the interminable stairs, crammed with the others inside a scarlet, hand-shaped construct and paraded by red through the Noumenon like a waiter with his silver serving tray, Big Band got a lot of time to think. At this point it went without saying, especially since his allies might not yet be on the same page with him about the best and only course of action here, that the situation with the Skullgirl was very, very bad.

According to Frisk’s account of when and how her trio arrived in Edinburgh, it had been days since the Skullgirl’s last sighting. The fact that skeletons roamed the streets of the winter city at night was a testimony to the new Skullgirl’s power, but their aimlessness suggested a lack of control. Maybe she had yet to come to grips with her new abilities, which meant that Band -and anyone he convinced- might have a chance of finding her and putting an end to this imminent disaster before she could become a real problem. Maybe a semblance of her original heroic self still remained, and she was trying to keep herself from going on a berserk rampage. He liked that second possibility even less, not just because the undead presence in Edinburgh suggested that she was failing, but also because it would be all the more tragic when the time came to put her down. For that eventuality there was no alternative. Becoming a Skullgirl was a degenerative disease, with no heart in the universe too pure to fall to its corruption, and destruction was the only cure. The only difference would be whether he could stop her before she began freeing the skeletons of the populace by the hundreds of thousands, or after.

Eventually, Red managed to reach the twenty-sixth floor, weary and winded by the arduous descent. He let the others down, giving Band, Lucia, Ace, and Frisk a chance to stretch their legs while he rested his own. “Thanks for the lift, Red,” Band told him. “Sit yourself down and have a breather. We’ll take it from here.”

He held up his bookmark and repeated the same name he fed it earlier. It lit up in search of Albedo, and after a moment churned out some less-than-ideal news. “Twenty-seven?” Lucia read, her brows raised. “Of frickin’ coahse. Looks like ouah guy went up anothah floah while we wah makin’ ouah way up.”

“Just one floor,” Band said evenly, shrugging. “Would be a shame if Red did all the work, after all.” He nodded in the superhero’s direction. “You take it easy, we’ll see ya in a minute. C’mon, y’all.”

The detective led the way across the Noumenon’s twenty-sixth floor. Looking over the railing turned out to be a mistake; even for someone not especially afraid of heights, Band couldn’t help but feel a little queasy when he glanced down the precipitous three-hundred-and-sixty-plus-foot drop. And yet, the distance his team had already climbed suddenly seemed like little more than a drop in the ocean when he looked upward, revealing dozens upon dozens of stories yet to go. “Must be a hundred damn floors, at least,” he murmured, amazed. Hopefully this friend of Frisk’s found what he’d been looking for on the twenty-seventh and felt no need to ascend further.

Band’s inner monologue came to an abrupt end as a shadow fell across the Noumenon’s interior, cast from the west-facing side. The next instant something big blitzed past the windows at such intense speeds that the entire row of windows shattered with explosive force, letting in the chilly high-altitude arctic air. In its wake came a sonic boom that just about knocked Lucia off her feet, although Band reached out in time with a mechanical arm to steady her. Mages, scholars, and other library visitors in the area let out a chorus of screams and yells, either readying themselves for combat or taking flight, in some cases literally. The detective groaned. “Ugh. If I had to guess, our nice little field trip just came to an end. Let’s hustle, folks!”

The team sprinted through the latter half of the grand library’s twenty-sixth floor and practically flew up the stairs to the next, harried by civilians fleeing the opposite way. Upon reaching the twenty-seventh floor landing, Band spotted someone who fit the description Frisk gave them: a young man probably in his early twenties, with fluffy blonde hair, in an elaborate and almost nonsensical outfit that included a short-sleeved hooded coat, thighboots, and shorts over leggings. With a fancy sword in hand he’d taken up a position in the very center of the the floor on top of a central table laden with books, beneath which a couple of scared children had taken cover. “Albedo!” Band called, sliding over. The alchemist glanced his way, noticing both Frisk and the lack of Galeem’s light in the detective’s eyes. “I don’t know what in the hell’s goin’ on, but it looks like we’ll be facin’ it together.”

“Understood,” Albedo replied. An explosion from up above got his attention, and as the group turned to face the disturbance, the perpetrator appeared.

The new monster floated in midair without flapping its six wings, descending as if a seraphim from heaven, though its visage was anything but holy. Whatever it was appeared to be a sleek, if freakish fusion of angel and demon, fish and bird, with wings lined by glowing eyes and a half-head crowned by clasped fingers, its upper half a vague mockery of the female form. With a high-pitched cry like a note from an angelic choir, it spread its wings and unleashed a flurry of pink projectiles.

“Hmph!” From beneath his coat Band deployed two massive mechanical arms, their brazen digits clasped into fists big enough to crush melons barehanded. He blocked the lasers that came his way and deployed his bagpipes as well, loading himself up with armor. “Got some pipes on ya, huh?” he grunted, slamming his fists together. “But that voice could use some work. Gimme two minutes and I’ll have ya singin’ a different tune!”

In a flash, Artemis zoomed from one side of the floor to another, sending books and inkwells flying from the pressure. It came to an instant stop, already turned around, and its luminescent rays blazed forth.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by MULTI_MEDIA_MAN
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MULTI_MEDIA_MAN

Member Seen 4 days ago

Geralt of Rivia

Midgar -> Sector 8, Detroit

Lvl 9 (151/90) -> Lvl 9 (152/90)

Word Count: 366 words


Things were starting to get wild, now. As Geralt joined the ranged battle, careful to not let himself be plugged by the shotgunners, though he soon found it unnecessary as the Engineer's turret was putting out far more damage than he could with its much higher rate of fire. He could use his bow, but the smaller hand crossbow was still more familiar to him at this point.

TNT Randy was quick to turn on him and the immobile gun, however, tossing out sticks of TNT towards them. Geralt saw the explosives coming and guarded himself with Quen, though he didn't rely on it to protect him, leaping out of the way before they went off. Before he could return the favor and put the hurt on him, though, Tora and Poppi rocketed down, taking Randy's attention off him. While they fought, Geralt found himself a couple of rough-housing thugs to take care of, being careful to avoid the G-Men as they rampaged through anybody they could get their hands on.

After a moment, the ground started to quake and Geralt bit back a curse, wondering just what it was now.

It was somebody from Desporhado, calling themselves one of the 'Winds of Destruction.' Though, given what he was in...that might have been a fitting title. That wasn't even a suit, more like a walking siege weapon. This was not somebody whose bad side they wanted to be on. The good news was that Blazermate almost immediately flew up to him to try and convince him not to slaughter them, and the two spoke for a few moments before he started going to work, starting on one of the Misconducts that was desperately, and fruitlessly, shooting at him.

It was quick work, and the thug was dispatched before Geralt would have had time to load an arrow, taking with it a huge chunk of the support pillar. Geralt took a step back, looking Khamsin up and down, before nodding his head and thinking 'Fuck that' and getting well away from the rampaging maniac.

On this day, he chose life. "I think he might have the rest of this handled." He admitted to the others.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Lugubrious Ghost who chose life

Member Seen 38 min ago

Detroit

Sector 8 Lower
Level 11 Tora (129/110) Level 12 Poppi (19/120)
Susie and Blazermate’s @Archmage MC, Raiden’s @XoXKieroBombXoX, Geralt’s @Multi_Media_Man, Benedict’s @Dark Cloud
Word Count: 2215


The sudden -and not to mention dramatic appearance- of a giant, hulking monstrosity with an oversized weapon of barbarous aspect, all decked out in the classic bad-guy colors of black and red, just about sent Tora, Poppi, Giovanna, and just about everyone into panic mode. Before any of the Seekers could join the Misconducts in doing anything they might regret, however, Blazermate announced her intentions. That phrase ‘Winds of Destruction’ did ring a bell, after all; it got brought up during the introductory meeting a couple hours ago when they team discussed the machine-oriented branch of Midgar’s defense. This was not, Poppi quickly realized, someone she wanted to hastily draw her revolvers on. The Medabot would head over to court an alliance with Khamsin before all hell broke loose, while the others held down the fort.

“Roger and good luck,” Poppi called back, not taking her eyes of the massive figure of TNT Randy, so mad at this point that steam might as well be billowing from her ears. “We’ll take care of things here.”

As Blazermate zipped out to parley with Khamsin, Tora leveled the blazing purple tip of his gravity-infused Variable Saber at Randy. “Not worry though. Fight with big bullypon not take long!”

While the dynamic duo could not see the face behind the demolitionist’s mask, his almost bestial growl told them all they needed to know about his mental state. “...When I’m through with you two, they’ll have to bury what’s left of you in a matchbox!”

Randy began, predictably, with some TNT. Just as he did with Geralt and the sentry, he hurled a handful of loose sticks to cover a wide area. Even individually those things packed a punch, but after taking on the likes of the Ender Dragon and Red Eye, Tora wasn’t afraid of this big blowhard. “Meeeh!” he cried, charging straight through the deluge of bombs. Those bright, violently fizzing sparks weren’t just for show, he knew. As the Nopon, closed the distance, bounding along like a basketball down the court, the dynamite harmlessly pinged off him and fell to the ground only to blow up a mere moment later, leaving a trail of explosions in his wake. In no time at all Tora got into melee range, and he immediately went on the offensive.

Vwoosh! Vrash! His Saber’s laser blade cleft through the air to slam into Randy’s shield in a shower of violet sparks, first on one side and then the other, leaving a burnt-in groove. Like earlier Tora then went low, but this time he lashed out with Speedy Sword at his much taller foe’s ankles, faster than Randy gave him credit for. He whirled around four times in a pinwheel of pain; Randy took the first two hits, reflexively lifted his leg up and away from the third, and blocked low for the fourth. At that point, however, Tora canceled into Swooshing Slash, launching upward with an explosive backflip swing that left him upside-down in midair. In a flash the Nopon came around with a horizontal cross slash, and though he couldn’t combo Randy without a topple preceding this technique, Tora did land a headshot that seared into ear, hair, and mask strap alike.

“Aaaagh!” Randy stumbled backward, reaching up clutch his burning headwound. With his opponent wide open, Tora moved in for a thrust to the abdomen, but things didn’t quite go as planned. Randy reached past his ear to seize the giant hockey stick slung over his back, then used his greater range and strength to bring it down on Tora in a tremendous chop. He expected its axe-blade to cleave the poor Nopon in half, but it only managed to lodge in his head. As Tora yelled in pain, Randy knew his partner would be coming to save him, so he planted his foot on Tora’s head to tug the hockey stick free with a kick, then raised his shield.

Sure enough, Poppi appeared. The minute Tora rolled clear, she lit Randy up with a trio of furious revolver shots, their repulsive force aimed not at his shield, but at his legs. Their subsequent bursts were too much for him to stand, and when he fell to the ground with his shield beneath him for support, Poppi coolly buffeted his mask with a double headshot, leaving her with only two bullets left. The raw force shattered his mask into jagged shards as it bent him over. backward, slicing up the brute’s ugly face, but he didn’t stay down for long. Randy returned with a vengeance and a fistful of TNT. This time, Poppi took a page from her Masterpon’s book and stood her ground. Two shots is all I need. Even as the dynamite flew toward her she lined up her shot, activated High Noon, and let loose. When the bullet slammed into Randy and split into four, the gravitational collapse it created sucked in everything nearby, from construction debris to the ashes of fallen Misconducts to Randy’s own TNT.

It flew back toward him and exploded in a bone-rattling blast, but the villain’s inherent explosive resistance saw him through. He emerged, roaring in pain and anger, from the smoke to deck Poppi with a giant left hook from his shield, then kick her onto her back. His hockey stick descended like a guillotine, but she managed to roll out of the way and get up onto all fours. Tora springboarded off her back to slash Randy across the chest before he could attack again. He used a shield bash to fling Tora away, but that gave Poppi the chance she needed to aim and unleash her final shot. When it ruptured it pulled Tora right back toward Randy like a flying bowling ball, and the demolitionist reeled. “...Poppi!” her Masterpon moaned as he hit the ground, too dizzy to do anything but lob the Variable Saber at her.

She managed to catch it despite the terrible throw, and in a flurry of light and sparks she and Randy crossed swords again and again. Poppi gave a lot better than she got, and Randy put all his strength into one last-ditch attempt. He delivered a tremendous headbutt to stagger her just long enough to wind up a massive overhead, forcing her to block. The two locked blades, and Randy quickly began to overpower Poppi, thanks to her Superstrength being exclusive to her Alpha form. Gritting her teeth, the artificial blade held out for just a couple moments more, bent backward until her opponent was sure of victory. Then she shut off the Variable Saber’s laser blade, allowing Randy’s strength to carry him right past her and onto the ground. When he rose to his kneels and whirled around, he found the barrel of the Saber’s shotgun mode aimed at his head. Poppi couldn’t have missed even if she wanted to.

The noise of destruction nearby came right on the heels of Randy’s demise. Khamsin was tearing through the construction site, impervious to the gunfire of the Misconducts as he mowed them down with his fearsome axe, one or two at a time. At some point in the fight with the ringleader Poppi did remember hearing Blazermate say that this Wind of Destruction would help, but this monster seemed happy to do the rest of the Seekers’ work for them. Geralt had the right idea, so Tora and Poppi followed suit, hightailing it out of the soon-to-be-wrecked structure and to the fringes of the construction site. Giovanna arrived on their heels, a little more mussed and dusty than last the two saw her but not that much worse for wear.

“Lead a couple of ‘em on a merry little chase,” she told the others drily, dusting off her hands. “You’d figure that if someone decided to stand up to people with guns empty-handed, they’d probably have a good reason, but these guys seemed dead-set on underestimating me. Oh well.” Susie quickly joined them too, and together the team watched the brief but brutal show as Khamsin made mincemeat of the Misconducts. Giovanna nodded at Geralt. “...Yeah, no kidding.” After a few more moments the solider’s mech -or perhaps the soldier himself?- squashed the last worm wriggling around in the pile with a giant swing of his hammer. In so doing he also took out one of the last load-bearing supports that remained, sending an entire section of the building-in-progress tumbling down. Only a couple sorry souls spared by the death sentence of Galeem’s influence managed to escape, while a shallow and graceless tomb fell upon the ashes of their comrades. Giovanna sighed, both at the situation and having to pat her expensive clothes clean a second time. Those gangsters had come upon some really rotten luck.

Near the wreckage and rubble, Khamsin eased open his war machine’s cockpit. “Whoo-wie!” he hollered as the dust settled on his face, wearing an ugly, gleeful grin. “Another victory for DespoRHado! Freedom reigns!” He glanced up at Blazermate. “Not bad for a tin can, huh? They oughta make more like you. Those crits make one hell of a difference, haha!”

With the battle over, Manananggal and Loup-Garou approached. “Y’know buster, I’m glad you came to help us and all, but…” The female demon looked over the wanton destruction with undisguised disgust on her face and in her voice. “What are you, some kind of ape? You did their job for them!”

“Shut your trap!” Khamsin snarled, his mood turned instantly from elation to outrage. “They’re dead, aren’t they? And you oughta know, I didn’t come for you. I came for freedom! Freedom from the yoke of oppression!” He hefted his axe. “That’ something you Shinra dogs won’t ever UNDERSTAND!”

The colossal weapon smashed down on Manananggal. She tried to resist, but physical strength was not her forte, and after only a moment she was mulch. Loup-Garou backed away with his teeth bared, his hackles on end, but he did not attack. He fixed his cold gaze on Khamsin as the man brought his axe up onto his shoulder, chuckling to himself. “That’s not going to go well with Public Security,” he growled.

“Like I give a damn! What’re you gonna do, fire me?” Khamsin spat back. “They’ll just shit out more of you Shadows anyhow. The Administration’s days are numbered, just you wait. When Armstrong gets elected he’s gonna show you all what freedom really looks like!” His mechs hand gave a shooing gesture. “Now git, before I teach you to play dead!”

Loup-Garou left in a hurry, shifting back into Investigation mode as he did. Khamsin turned to leave, like a force of nature that had just indifferently blown through town.

Tora watched the exchange from afar, rubbing his head. While Blazermate’s healing fixed the divet in his dome, what he just witnessed opened up a whole new can of worms it hurt to consider. “Meh-meh? Tora thought different branches of Midgar defense supposed to be allies.”

“They are. Nominally.” Giovanna leaned against the railing of the construction yard, crossing her arms. “But even in the same organization, people don’t always see eye to eye. In Midgar, there’s about a billion different interests and agendas, with everyone looking out for their own. Politics are especially divisive, now more than ever with the election. I guess even the Ever Crisis isn’t a big enough threat to make everyone get along.” She shrugged.

The Nopon gave a noncommittal grunt as he looked over Poppi, taking stock of her damage. “Tora not know much about politics. Not care either. What we do now?”

Giovanna looked around. Everyone was at least a little banged up and tired from the afternoon’s vigorous activities so far. Benedict and Raiden had been, for lack of a better term, underperforming. An old fart staying away from the dangerous frontlines she could understand, but for that high-tech cyborg to gleefully slaughter small fry and then not even contribute to this battle rubbed her the wrong way. Although, considering how Raiden felt about DespoRHado, maybe that was a good thing.

She gazed off into the middle distance, her eyebrows knit together. “Uhh…not sure, really. I’ve kind of had enough fighting gangs for one day. Isn’t it…I don’t know, kind of depressing?” She ran a hand all the way through her hair, realized her braid had come undone during the fighting, and started fixing it with practices hands. “As for what to do next, I’m not sure. We could shop around for a red matter detector, but it seems like the tech down here is mostly robotics and augmentation.”

She looked at Poppi, who’d raised her hand. “This might sound like a strange idea, but why don’t we follow Khamsin? Assuming he responded to the distress beacon because he was out on patrol, and that his machine needs energy like any other, he’s probably heading back to base. We could at least get a look at DespORhado HQ before we go.”

Giovanna got off the fence. “Sure, might as well. Never seen it with my own eyes myself, and the Bunker’s supposed to be a pretty big deal. Everyone good to go?” The communal answer seemed to be ‘ready as I’ll ever be’. “Then let’s hurry before we lose him.”

Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Dark Cloud
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Dark Cloud 💀Vibin' beyond the Veil💀

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Wordage: 396 words (+1 points)
Experience: 7/20 EXP (LVL UP PENDING)
Location: Detroit
Interaction
Raiden's @XoXKieroBombXoX, Geralt's @MULTI_MEDIA_MAN, Blazermate & Susie's @Archmage MC and Tora & Poppi's @Lugubrious


With an exasperated sigh, Benedict shook his head as he stepped over rubble and scattered ash of whomsoever was unlucky enough to have fallen in battle. Leaning on his cane, the old tactician looked a bit tired as he traversed the ruined construction site though with Benedict it was hard to tell.

His ears rang, the close proximity to explosions and other such hazardous things being as hazardous to one's hearing as their literal being alas Benedict could only remove his silver-rimmed spectacles, rubbing the bridge of his nose as he collected himself for a moment. The DespORhado, at least what he knew of the group was that they often affiliated themselves with less-than-savory types though that was as much as Benedict was aware of. They weren't a group to be trifled with, Khamsin's handiwork was enough to reinforce that idea. Dusting the ash from his trousers, Benedict caught a glimpse of faint light flittering here and there amongst the debris. Kneeling closer to a spectral globe depicting a masked man, it was fascinating to a man of intellect like himself. Magic was not something so taboo to him though he'd never dealt with things as fantastical where he came from. Technology, though a wonder to a medieval man was nothing compared to the supernatural which Benedict was one to scoff at such things.

Though, this revelation could wait as the others gathered up in the ruined site looking worse for wear than himself and far dirtier too.

Benedict made his way over, a frown upon his scruffy face as he watched the hulking cybernetic warrior stomp off "A likely mistake," the Turk remarked, adjusting his spectacles as he faced Giovanna catching the tail-end of the conversation as he came over "Are we really in a good position to scout out these 'DespORhado'?" Benedict motioned to the others, who unlike himself looked worn from battle.

"I've no inkling of what might have transpired between our cybernetic soldier here and this group but I can only assume it was less than favorable for him. Besides I am in no way sure our friends in Public Security aren't already sending agents to investigate here, you miss Giovanna are still a wanted criminal." he finished with a questioning arch of an eyebrow, as if he thought she had forgotten she was wanted by the government.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Scarifar
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Scarifar Presto~!

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Location: The Ruins
Level: 3
Experience: 35/30 (Level up available)
Word Count: <750 (+1 EXP)


Rubick stared in wonderous curiosity as Kamek summoned a spider mount. When Kamek spoke to Rubick, Rubick replied with, "Ahh, an opportunity to learn more magicks!" Spell Stealing Kamek's ability, Rubick mentally sorted through the knowledge that now lodged itself into his brain. "Hmm, less variety than I expected," Rubick concluded. "But it is a wonderous ability nonetheless." Rubick began to wave his staff around and began to repeat Kamek's chant. Or at least, tried to.

Grow and grow, O loyal steed
Of you we have need
I require a steed quite nice
And what will do is a cockatrice!


At Rubick's command, an egg spawned on the ground which continuously grew until it hatched into a giant rooster. It crowed loudly as if to announce its appearance. Rubick gestured for it to sit down so he could climb atop it, and then he proceeded to ride it alongside Kamek's spider. They were mindful of the hazards in their path, avoiding them or blasting them away with spell and weaponry. Rubick found out that it was far more difficult than it looked to be shooting a Raygun while riding a mount. It was certainly different than if he would ride his staff. Rubick also found the gun to be out of ammo, as it clicked harmlessly every time he pulled the trigger now. He would've put it back in his robe, but an unexpected leap caused the gun to slip out of Rubick's grasp and poof into nothingness when it hit the ground. It was a curious phenomenon, but sadly there was no time to study it, and the thought soon left Rubick's mind.

As they traveled, the group discovered a small unconscious creature in the green goo, and it was under attack by the local wildlife. Rubick was the first to act, casting Telekinesis on the little furball and carrying it away from the giant mosquitos. Upon closer inspection, Rubick found that it was clearly humanoid in appearance. Perhaps it was more intelligent than it appeared, judging from the oversized head in proportion to its body. "Curious..." Rubick mused.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,282 (+3)
Bowser: Level 11 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (238/110)
Bowser Jr: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (15/120)
Kamek: Level 12 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (14/120)
Rika: Level 6 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (57/60)
Location: The Under - The Ruins - Dripstone Cave


As the Two older Koopas watched, the end’s dart struck true and the mineral encrusted bug was out like a light. Then it was just a matter of waiting for their prize to be fetched by Kamek’s toadies, during which they noted that the big jumpy worms were not going anywhere close to a pool of disgusting looking water.

”If they did go through this chamber” Kamek theorized, gesturing towards the waterside ”Then that would likely be the way they went, seeing as it is safe from the wormy hazards”

”Something like that” Bowser agreed, as he plucked the Huuli Hoarder’s hoard from its body, and then crushed its body and then spirit in his claw in a single motion to get anything else out of it that he could.

He pocketed the resulting mineral wealth for himself, naturally, and then suggested ”So how about we check the waterside for, uh, tracks or something?” before glancing over at the bugs jr had tried to communicate with and noting that ”Because those clowns seem several acts short of a circus, so I don’t think we’re getting anything out of them” based on their response to being asked questions being to put on a show rather than to, as a sane person might, answer the questions.

”yeah these guys are a bust” Jr agreed from where he was hovering, but as the adults started to move off, he lingered, eyes focused on the weird orange glow in one of the clown bugs. Then Dazzle wiggled out of the clown car and flopped down onto the ground, where the clown nosed sea lion began to put on his own act, producing a bubble of water, balancing on top of it, and then juggling several smaller bubbles on his nose.

”Oh come one we don’t have time for this” jr tried to tell his minion, but one pleading look got him to sigh and say ”Fine, have fun. Just don’t come crying to me if something dumb happens because of this”

He slumped down on the edge of his clown car… before glancing back at the sick bug and feeling, again, an unnatural desire welling up inside of him: to try and help the bug despite how useless such an act would be from a selfish standpoint.

”Uuuuuurgh. Fiiiiiine” the prince groaned, picking up his staff and pointing it at the drowsy insect and casting ”Cure” and ”Esuna” in an attempt to try and heal/clear whatever it was that was affecting the clown ant, cursing his new bleeding heart as he did so.




While jr was reluctantly bowing to the demands of his consciousness, his elders where coming nose first with the consequences of poking about a wretched swamp

”Yuck, this place stinks” Bowser complained in a nazily voice, the king pinching his nose shot with his fingers, before commenting to his advisor that this was ”Not one of your best ideas Kamek”

”I merely suggested this was where they might have gone sire, you are the one who suggested we follow it directly” the mage retorted, which left his king a little surprised truth be told, given its directness. Had the height provided by the drake the mage now sat atop given him confidence to see himself on more equal ground as the towering tyrant, or was it that his new ears were making him more catty?

Who could say.

Regardless, bickering further over their mutual blame for this whole situation would have to wait, as their escapade had once more annoyance added to it in the form of some high pitched buzzing.

Bowser groaned ”Now what” at the sound before taking a look for the source of it, and spotting a number of oversized mosquitoes flying through the air.

”Oh, right, more giant bugs, of course” the king said dismissively, turning back towards the trail around the lake, only to look back when Kamek grabbed the end of his sleeve, tugging it to get his attention.

”Wait sire! Look over there, at where they are going!” the mage urged the king while gesturing over to the slumped over figure on the ground, half hidden among the reeds.

”Huh? Is he asleep?” Bowser assumed incorrectly, before yelling ”HEY YOU, THAT’S NO PLACE FOR NAPPING! YOUR GONNA GET EATEN BY BUGS!” which utterly failed to rouse the knocked out fuzzy little guy.

Rubick's strategy meanwhile of just abducting the fellow with telekinesis first, and asking questions later, worked much better, stealing away the mosquitoes meal before they could get to him. Odds were, however, that that wouldn’t deter the bugs, and that they’d keep coming, right towards the lot of them.

”Koopa troop, let's blast some bugs!” Bowser ordered stepping up to form a welcoming party for the insidious insects.

”Busy!” Came a call from Jr, presently occupied with the clown situation, while Rika called out ”Coming!” as she quickly saddled up onto her cockatrice’s back to ride over.

”Just you and me then to start out then sire” Kamek said, before adding ”and me, and me, and two more on top of that” jokingly as he conjured up a set of doppelgangers, creating a cadre of drake riding hims to act as fire support.

Clones made, he tossed a red orb to the first three, turning into independent attackers, and then a white orb to the last, turning it into a discount white mage. This fourth directed its wand towards the floating fellow, giving him medical attention via weak but frequent bursts of healing magic while the others, along with Kamek, squared up against the incoming swarm.

”Let’s burn them all, shall we?” he suggested ”maybe the scent of cooked bug will improve the local atmosphere?”

”Now that? That’s a great idea!” Bowser commended him, before shouting ”Get roasted!” at the insects, prompting all five of them to unleash a burning hell upon them.

Fireballs began flying, the king blasting out with massive wrecking ball sized ones that were as much slow moving environmental hazards as they were attacks due to their lethargic flight though the sky. Meanwhile, Kamek and his 3 red hued doppelgangers waved their wands and unleashed volleys of fast moving flame blasts spells using the Fire Materia at the tip of their wands, the Grimoire of Ruin at the mage’s side glowed as it empowered his minions .

Rika dashed in a few moments later, and though she lacked her own firepower due to ammo shortages, her new Kamek provided steed allowed her to get in on the shooting gallery action.

Though the oversized chicken-drake hybrid with its useless wings, pink scaly skin and rooster head looked ridiculous, one baleful glare proved looks could be deceiving. Twin headlamps of illuminating power blasting bug after bug as Rika fired the construct’s doom gaze again and again at their foes. Worse for their foes, the closer the mosquitos got, the tighter the beam hitting them got, and the more likely it got that the blasts would petrify their target, causing them to stiffly fall into the water to succumb to the murk.

Adding to all that, should against all the odds any of the bitty bugs manage to get anywhere close to the shoreline, well, then Bowser would switch to his flame breath, barbecuing bugs with great swaths of air clearing flame.

Suffice to say that, with Rubick’s swift action freeing them up to fire instead of having to have someone rush over to mount a rescue, it would take a real miracle or external intervention for a single bug to get into attack range. Or at least that’s what the ever confident troop thought, which was why jr was happy to leave them to it while he focused on the mystery of the clowns.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Archmage MC
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Archmage MC

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Level 9 Sectonia (holding 3 level up) - (67/90)
Location: ??? > Boss Rush
Word Count: 1089


It took longer than she'd like, but eventually the giant fell, exploding into blood as the walls themselves also exploded into blood, almost like the room itself was the giant. "This place is disgusting. No class, no beauty..." Sectonia said, reiterating her opinion of the whole dungeon. Upon the death of Mom, her spirit appeared in the room as all of her minions they hadn't killed perished. And with her death, two rooms opened. One with that familiar devil statue, another where there was a faceless angel statue. Both statues offering the same item, at... no cost? A trophy case looking object with a spirit inside it, or something looking like a spirit. Additionally a reward for beating Mom spawned, a red shoe. And finally, a hole Sectonia would investigate once they had some time to rest and divvy out the loot.

Even though Sectonia was stressed, she still told her minions what was going on. "IF any of you are interested, that shoe seems to increase the range of ranged attacks. But considering what it is, I doubt it'll come for free. The items inside the rooms meanwhile seem to contain spirits of some sort, but with no cost to claim. Their magic feels a bit more... raw..." As the group was given time to rest, Sectonia looked over the items she had collected so far, dumping those she deemed disgusting (Basically all the monster hunter crafting items) onto the ground from the spirits she had crushed prior. "IF any of you have a use for these items speak up, or they will be left behind." Sectonia also took it upon herself to wake up Ganondorf from his exhaustion with a few slaps. At least as the group rested he'd get some healing from Sectonia's healing aura. Sectonia, noticing the devil room spirit thing didn't have any cost at all associated with it, sent an antillion to go grab it for her.

With all of that being done and the rest going as well as it could, Sectonia grumbling to herself, she decided to investigate the same hole Nadia was. Unlike the trapdoors earlier, this one was... flesh covered. Almost like it was some kind of toothless mouth or something. The words Nadia then said didn't help, and everyone could visibly see Sectonia's eyes more or less buldging out in sheer disgust and anger. "Does this dungeon expect US to enter the bowels of a defeated giant in order to kill something inside of it? If I ever meet who made this dungeon, they will have a swift and merciless death." Sectonia's wings unfurling wide as she made that declaration. That being said, she waited until a couple other minions descended before gritting and following, with plans to teleport out if this became what Nadia had mentioned.

And yes, the descent was as disgusting as Sectonia figured, her large size making her descent a bit trickier. Even with blinks, she did have to touch the flesh walls, and this really, really wasn't improving her mood. At least as the tunnel widened, she could blink without touching as much of the wall as she was but what Nadia had said earlier, with the large fleshy room below... could prove true. And if it was, there really wasn't too much she could do to help her minions. Well, the ones she liked anyway. But either way, Sectonia could do nothing but agree with Nadia. "Whatever made this dungeon needs to perish." Sectonia reiterated. Although her rage blinded her to her own hypocracy as she saw the items on display for 'powering up' as this dungeon seemed to like to do. One was a thing of damaging lemonade, another was a symbol that made you bigger, a third was a pair of robes that really didn't match her asthetic but did increase damage dealt, and the fourth was a pepper that granted control over fire? Well it didn't look as bad as that rotten tomato and control over fire magic would be another bit of magic she had under her belt.

As each of the seekers took what powerup they wanted, Nadia taking the lemonade and Sectonia grabbing the pepper, they became affected by the boons and woes of each. Nadia hadn't had anything happen to her, while Sectonia could feel a massive burning sensation in her mouth as if it was on fire which didn't improve her temperament. After all the seekers grabbed all of the powerups, a menagerie of grotesque monsters to come out of the walls, much like what Mom did in her battle but these monstrosities were more disgusting and much larger. Yep, the entered some kind of giant alright, if the flesh walls and audible heartbeat weren't enough. Unfortunitally for the creature that Sectonia pulled her weapons out for, a Massive ball of cancerous flesh, her mood of being in a 'stomach' alongside the insane pain from the spice of the pepper she had claimed for its power over fire boiled her rage over and she took that rage out on this mass.

That came in the form of her throwing massive light ring after massive light ring, fire coming out of her mouth as not even she could contain her rage at this whole situation. She wasn't using this fire to attack, but the light rings were enough as while the first large section of the creature took a bit to go down, its slow movement speed as it bounced towards Sectonia letting her lay into it with her rings of light, with her rage (Abusive) increasing her damage output slightly but making her unwilling to dodge as she was blinded by her fury. This wasn't as big of an issue as it seemed at first as the large mass approached her, it split into three masses that bounced in other directions. Still, Sectonia didn't enjoy one of these cancer balls bouncing off of her and fired more and more rings of Light.

However the poor thing soon began to break apart more and more, falling apart much easier than its initial form. Once the medium sized chunks broke into more chunks, due to breaking apart while inside a ring of light, the new chunks also got turned into mush, becoming smaller chunks which got blended, and finally spawning for a split second as a small spider before that too got turned into a red paste. If Sectonia wasn't fuming with anger and spice pain, she'd ruminate on how this was probably one of the easier of the creatures to deal with due to her skillset. But she was far, far too angry at things to think about that.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by DracoLunaris
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DracoLunaris Multiverse tourist

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wordcount: 813 (+2) (+8)
Midna: level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////(99/90)
Location: Suoh
Warp Charges: 2


After she’d relayed her latest mostly failure of an escapade to the group in an as un-embarrassing a manner as she could, Midna went to find Bede to fill him in too.

She’d assumed that he’d have ended up hanging around outside somewhere nearby after storming out… and yet a lap of the gym and a peek down the nearby streets and alleyways revealed no pink and teal attired teen to be found, which turned the building frustration she had been feeling into worry.

”Goddesses, did he just wander off into the city? Alone? Unable to see any of the signage or anything else?” she asked herself before darkly grumbling ”I swear, if he’s gotten himself into a carriage accident”

It was about that time that Goldlewis came out the door, heading for his vehicle again, with an aim to travel under the plate to see if they could set up shop there, and/or get anything out of those psifish.

Both of those where things she wanted to get in on, but, as she explained ”Someone’s got to try and find Bede, and I can at least bypass most of the issues with this whole psychic focused town has for the likes of us” and so she wouldn’t be coming.

She wished him and whoever else was going luck, and then began her fruitless search for the vanished boy. As she rode along the streets, shadow hopped across the streets and bothered random people on the streets, it started to look like the teen had just vanished into thin air.

Then again, the city was enormous, and a teen in bright pink and teal attire with white hair did not stand out in it nearly as much among the technicolor population as he might otherwise have. Add to that Midna’s eyes not working the best under the sunny skies, and, well, her efforts were ultimately futile.

It was like losing a kid in a crowded mall, one the size of a city, and with the searcher not knowing that the standard procedure in this case would be to find the equivalent of an intercom in-order to make a public service announcement.

As such, when six o'clock rolled around on her new watch, she was forced to admit that this was a lost cause. She left a note with the gym’s reception to tell him where they had gone if he turned back up there, and then headed for the restaurant with the others in Goldlewis’s hummer.

Within, she listened to the man’s explanation of what the whole plan was. Get two fused people and Raz into OSF and get some more details about the whole city’s situation if they could.

”Seems simple enough” she agreed, though she did not take up the offer of fusion. Best to spread the psychic ability out, even if her’s were contained entirely in some strikers.

If it was Sakura who was taking the plunge, she hoped that the fusion would not undo or make redundant whatever work Raz had done to quell a mental hiccup of hers. She’d certainly been interested in that when she heard about it, and as they piled out of the car she casually asked the boy in question ”Mind scheduling me in for a peek around the headspace some time in the future? I’ve … well let's just say that there is a lot going on in there lately”

If he could root out whatever fears she’d inherited from one of her fusions, that could most certainly be a boon and a half for her.

After that brief interaction she drifted on into the restaurant, and got her first look at Luka Travers, which resulted in the unfortunate comment that ”huh, wow. Age has certainly treated you well, if I understand things right. Maybe too well”

However that went down, the next thing that occurred was receiving physical menus, which apparently were not standard and had had to be requested. Another black mark for the city, but a positive one for the boyish psychic considering he had realized that would be an issue

”Oh, good. My interpreter would not make for a good table company” Minda said as she accepted the menu, glad to not have to rely on the initiate strikers for this ”or any company really.” The last few hours of leaning on them for city navigation while trying to find Bede had not been enjoyable.

She had a little read of the menu (and decided on trying out this whole sushi thing, having not yet tired of the novelty of seafood) before his comment about ‘never knowing who you’ll find’ reminding her that she and he had not been formally introduced.

”I’m Minda, princess of twilight” she said, doing just that and slipping into a more diplomatic tone while doing so ”It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr Travers”
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Double
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Level 3 Ganondorf: 1/30
Word Count: 1,207
Location: ??? > Boss Rush
Points Gained: 2
NEW EXP Balance--- Level 3: 3/30


Ganondorf grunted with annoyance when he was awakened. If he was at full power he'd punish that bee for unceremoniously slapping him like that. But he had more pressing things to worry about right now. Like the excruciating pain in his ribs. He'd have to ask for some healing, as much as he hated the idea. Sectonia's proximity seemed to be granting a slow amount of healing, but that alone wasn't going to be enough for injuries like his.

"...Wait." Ganondorf said through clinched teeth before Nadia turned away from him. While he appreciated her attempt at sparing his pride, the Gerudo was not completely above accepting some aid from another. Especially if that meant mitigating the agonizing pain of suffering broken bones. So he allowed the feline girl to heal him with her Spirit. That, combined with the slow healing conferred by Sectonia, was enough to at least get him back on his feet and ease the pain. Mostly. He briefly glanced over at the Spirit of the creature he had just slain. He considered taking it - like he had with the Duke of Flies - but ultimately chose not to. Some creatures were too disgusting even for him to want to employ, and Mom was such an example.

When he eventually dropped down into the next level of this wretched dungeon, Ganondorf hit the ground with a painful grunt. His ribs may not have been broken anymore, but they were still bruised a bit and sore like hell. Still, the King of Evil grit his teeth and stood strong. He was nothing if not resilient, and even more so thanks to the Triforce of Power. So even though he was still battered from the previous fight, one wouldn't be able to tell just by looking at him. The appearance of the Sigil was what caught his eye first. He recalled what happened when Jesse had touched a similar one upstairs in the Basement, and namely how it granted her power. With a smirk, Ganondorf did not hesitate to immediately reach forth and claim this sigil for himself.

Like with Jesse, the sigil vanished when Ganondorf touched it and its power surged into him. Immediately he felt his body grow in size, no where near as large as Ganon of course, but the man now appeared to match Bowser in height. His muscular stature grew as well to match his new proportions, and finally his short red hair grew into a full on mane that also connected into a newly grown short beard on his face.



Ganondorf looked himself over, impressed with the amount of new strength he possessed. Just to test it, he even drew both of his heavy swords at the same time and gave them a few test swings to prove that he could in fact now dual-wield them if he so desired. The only thing he was not overly fond of was the hair. So he simply tied most of it back into a short-length ponytail. That would have to do until he could find the means to give it a proper haircut later. After that it was merely a wait for all the items to be claimed by one Seeker or another. Only after that did the newest obstacles make themselves known. Not one but seven bosses appeared - conveniently the same number of Seekers there were. That inevitably meant that each of them was on their own for this next fight.

"Hmph," Ganondorf grunted. This place was starting to annoy him, "I grow tired of these abominations. This had better be the final test!" he demanded, beginning to slowly walk toward the Blastocyst. He had no particular reason for choosing this one - other than it just happening to be the one that appeared directly ahead of him. As his slightly more hulking form walked forward he channeled his dark magic into another summon. His Phantom appeared at his side and levitated itself up into the air in order to float around the abomination and allow the two of them to flank it. But Ganondorf was not finished setting himself up yet. He retrieved the Tarot card from his pocket and held it out in front of him to use it. The card vanished and the King of Evil found himself able to float and fly around just like his Phantom.

And it was a good thing he had done this too. The bubble-like monster hopped about and sent out projectiles in multiple directions with each landing. These would have been much harder for the bigger Ganondorf to dodge had he still been restricted to walking or running, especially with his bruised ribs. But thankfully the flying power granted to him by The Hanged Man allowed him to more deftly avoid projectiles and debris as well as keep the hopping monster within striking range of his blades. His Phantom on the other hand, was not quite as skillful at dodging the attacks. He was, after all, merely a watered down doppelganger of the man himself.

But between the two of them, they were able to make mince-meat out of the boss's initial form due to its larger size making it a larger target. When it eventually split into two, Ganondorf and the Phantom divided their efforts and each went one-on-one with the two halves. But while Ganondorf was able to slay his half with relative ease - the Phantom would strike his killing blow at the same time that his own vitality ran out. That left Ganondorf to deal with the now 4 small creatures alone. But they produced far fewer projectiles than their larger counterparts and thus Ganondorf was able to keep himself safe from harm with relative ease. He hacked and slashed at two of them before getting frustrated enough to summon the Duke of Flies to unleash its 12 projectiles, six going to each of the remaining creature. After that it only took another swing or two to finish them off.

What was left was a quartet of fleshy embryos crawling and flopping around rather helplessly. For these, Ganondorf used his newfound sigil power to simply stomp the embryos and ultimately finish them off. Overall the fight wasn't especially challenging, but it was long and tedious due to having to hack apart the creature as it had continued to break down. Quite annoying, but at least it wasn't a giant leg capable of breaking his bones, so that was a plus. Ganondorf lightly touched the ground when it was all over. Pity that the Tarot card's power wasn't permanent, but oh well. He picked up the Spirit left behind and pocketed it. He had no interest in fusing with such filth but if nothing else he could use it as a Striker as with the Duke of Flies.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Yankee
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Yankee God of Typos

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Word Count: 1042 (+2 exp)
Level: 9 - Total EXP: 173/90
Location: Edinburgh MagicaPolis

The shelves in the Noumenon were well stocked to say the least. Even here on twenty-sixth floor each bookcase was crammed full of writings, and there were still dozens or more floors above them. As the Ace Cadet ran his eyes and fingers over the books on offer, he judged that there was little rhyme or reason to the way they were shelved. In fact it seemed unlikely to him that they were categorized at all. They were grouped almost at random, with instructional aids to fictional novels together with autobiographies and children's stories. He supposed that with the magic bookmark it didn't much matter that they weren't sorted... well, it wasn't like he was looking for anything in particular so it wasn't a great inconvenience to him at the moment anyway.

I wonder if someone collected everything here or it just showed up like this when all the world-remaking stuff happened, he thought to himself, noting that some sections all appeared to hold books similar to each other in aesthetics even if not in content. They were likely from the same universe, he assumed, like the adventure book and the summoning tutorial, or the fantasy novel and the language guide. The latter two he took from the shelves they were wedged into. The first's simple title, King, intrigued him, but upon cracking it open he was greeted a mildly disappointing notice:

Gentle reader, you will not understand a word of what follows unless you have read and commited to memory the first three volumes in this series, Beggar, Thief, and Warrior, which leads up to this, the conclusion. I encourage you to seek them out at your favorite bookseller.

"Shucks," he mumbled, glancing back at the bookshelf. He'd been walking, so finding the spot he'd pulled it from would be more trouble than it was worth. Leaving it on the ground didn't seem right, so he tucked the novel into his bag anyway. The other book he'd picked up, Dragon Language: Myth no More, did not have any such foreword. That was the one he was more interested in reading anyway.

He passed over a huge tome to check out a book with a monster on the cover, stopping briefly while he did. He couldn't tell if it was supposed to be fact or fiction from the blurb on the back nor the first couple of pages, so he set it back in its place.

Some items on the shelving weren't even books at all. Wherever there was space, collected scrolls and even stone tablets of all types were stacked. Every now and then there were also magazine racks, and like the bookshelves their collected magazines ranged in content from advertisements, hobbyist niches, fashion trends, to natural wonders of their respective worlds. In one of these racks a glimpse of the familiar immediately drew the Cadet's eye. It was a thick collection of pages, once paperback but rebound into something a little sturdier. The cover didn't appear to be in the best condition, not that it bothered the Cadet - he could still make out the bold script that read Hunting Life Magazine.

"Oh hey!" he exclaimed as he picked it up, the grin on his face running from ear to ear. He jogged to close the small distance between himself and the rest of the group, the monthly magazine opened up to display various articles and photos of his home world. It was an issue he hadn't read yet, which would be gargwawesome to go through once they had some down time. "This place is groovios, it has all kinds of stuff - everything, from everywhere."

What a resource it could serve as. Unfortunately it was just as unsafe for the Seekers as the rest of the city, proven by the disturbance that happened next. Something flew by the Noumenon, something large, fast, and presumably dangerous. With a quick response of "Right!" as Band bid them to hurry on, the Cadet pulled his backpack around to his front to shove the magazine inside and prepare a weapon while sprinting the rest of the way to the next floor. On the next landing they found a scene much like the floors below, with shattered glass and scattered pages all over. They also found the friend they'd been intending to meet, converging on Albedo's location.

"D'you think they found us already?" the Ace Cadet suggested, unhappy with the thought. He took note of Albedo's sword and, thinking back to how Big Band and Wonder Red had handled the enemies in the subway in melee fashion, equipped the great bow. When the enemy appeared above them, its wings spread wide, he considered his strategy; starting, of course, with getting out of the way.

Currently his armor was geared more toward protecting against the cold than monsters. If worst came to worst his shield was still strapped to his back, and loathe as he was to turn his back on something dangerous he could use it as a last ditch defensive measure while the bow was in his hands. At the moment though he had no such desires, and so the Cadet rolled out of the way of the projectiles. The demonic entity zipped away and unleashed more, sending the Cadet to cover behind a towering bookshelf. The impact of the rays practically exploded the wood and paper above him. The hunter frowned as he prepared his arrows - the thing was really fast, and there were still civilians on this level including the group he'd glimpsed under the table that Albedo stood on. Locking it down somehow seemed to be the best bet for curbing the damage it was doing and giving people time to escape.

Once the demon's latest volley was over, the Cadet popped out from behind his crumbling cover with the drawstring of the great bow pulled back. He shot a couple of arrows at Artemis, judging his own attack speed.

"Don't you know you're supposed to be respectful in a library?" he told the monster. As soon as he spotted an opening he fired a Blade Wire. Though it didn't exactly seem like it needed those wings to fly, at the very least it might pin the thing down for a moment.
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